Recovery in the Media: #31. Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks

Magical and touching, this film addresses addiction and family hurt with hope.

30. Saving Mr. Banks

Last Tuesday, I took myself out on a date as I wrote about in this post.  Going to see a cheap movie was the highlight of the mini vacation.  Saving Mr. Banks ended up being the movie that I saw.  Going into it, my hopes were high.  However, this film exceeded my expectations and left me with tears and hope for the rest of the week.  It deals with the effects of alcoholism, past hurts (perhaps PTSD), and family relationships.  Thus it seemed like an appropriate film for Media Monday.  Plus, critics and movie goers alike have given this movie mostly positive reviews.

Synopsis: P. L. Travers does not want to sell her beloved character, Mary Poppins, to Disney.  After all, he is the man who created Mickey Mouse and all of that other sentimental fluff.  Her famous nanny is down-to-earth and practical, something that Disney would never understand.  However, after twenty years, she agrees to fly out to Hollywood to discuss and help write the script.  Maybe, just maybe, this film can be done without ruining Mary.  But of course, there must be no red, animation, music, sentimental nonsense, Dick Van Dyke. . .

Recovery Pluses: Travers might seem simply ornery and conceited in the beginning of the film.  However, the audience slowly glimpses the tragedy but also imagination in her life.  Disney, on the other hand, is only sentimental in her eyes.  By the end, the author disagrees with him in many ways but also understands him better.  Other characters are given more depth so that viewers understand each of them better.  His leg was shot, his daughter is disabled, her way of loving people is bringing them sweets, etc.  What is on the surface is not the whole story.  Our culture tends to focus on appearance and first impressions.  Saving Mr. Banks invites us to see people as more than they first appear to be.

One of the great struggles in Travers life was her father’s alcoholism.  Despite his love for his daughters and joy in life, he drank until his untimely death.  This greatly impacted his daughter, causing her to grow up far too quickly.  Ginty, as he called her, learned to care for her parents instead of living a normal life.  None of this is positive, of course, but it shows the impact that addiction has on families.  By the end, hope for healing also is portrayed.  Through the film of Mary Poppins, Travers and Disney are able to redeem their fathers.

Cautions: Compared with most PG-13 films, Saving Mr. Banks has very few problematic moments.  The reason for the rating rests in the mature nature of the content.  Alcoholism is not a light topic, and this film shows its damaging qualities.  A few swear words pop up as well but not enough to be very noticeable.  The most troubling moment is when Travers’ mother attempts to commit suicide.  The young girl saves her parent, but this scene triggered and frightened me slightly.

My mother questioned my idea to see a movie alone.  In her mind, the notion of going to the theater by oneself made no sense.  However, I am very glad that I chose this film and took a chance.  Not only was the time alone relaxing, this movie touched me deeply.  Brilliant acting and a clever script added to the experience.  Some have complained about the portrayal of Disney as near perfect and the happy ending which are valid points.  Sometimes it does take a spoonful of sugar to get the medicine down.

Additional Links:

Saving Mr. Banks on the Disney website

Saving Mr. Banks on Facebook

Saving Mr. Banks trailer on Youtube

Saving Mr. Banks on IMDB

Saving Mr. Banks on Rotten Tomatoes


2 thoughts on “Recovery in the Media: #31. Saving Mr. Banks

  1. I went to see this a couple of weeks ago and left the cinema with tears rolling down my cheeks. A fantastic film that had prompted me to buy Mary Poppins.

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