I recently saw the Saving Mr. Banks movie and I thought it was fascinating! I feel that what this movie unveils is unprecedented in the multimedia world because it actually takes you into the making of the movie. However, the movie was really more about the author of Mary Poppins, and her struggles in maintaining control over her story in the film making process. I read the original Mary Poppins this past summer, and I was shocked at how different the book is from the Julie Andrew’s nanny figure we all know.
First of all, how does one put music to a book? That is amazing that the Walt Disney musicians could actually make the book into a musical‼ In the movie, P.L. Travers (played in this film by Emma Thompson) explicitly states no singing or dancing in her movie. But by the end of the process, well… let’s just say that she was inspired. You’ll have to watch the movie to see what happens!
The most important part of Mary Poppins is not the Mary Poppins character, however- it’s Mr. Banks, the father of the Banks children whom Mrs. Poppins watches over. The movie really went into the depth of Mrs. Travers’ childhood inspiration. Throughout the movie, Mrs. Travers has flashbacks to her childhood and it is revealed to the viewer the hardships her family underwent. In the current time of the movie- around the 1960s- it was very common for authors to take a pen name, especially ones that did not reveal their gender. P.L. Travers adopted her father’s name as her own because it is obvious that she greatly loved and respected him. During a few flashbacks, her father tells her to never stop dreaming despite her mother’s practicality. Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) tries desperately to understand why this woman is so hard to please in the movie room-all of their suggestions fail in the eyes of Mrs. Travers. Towards the end of the movie, Walt shows up at Mrs. Travers’ apartment in England, where he shows her that Mary Poppins is family to him also. He finally connects Mrs. Travers’ father to Mr. Banks and understands why she was having such trouble with their portrayal of him.
I love how Emma Thompson portrays this abrupt, posh English author. She does such a phenomenal job at showing the transition from this uptight woman into a fun, emotional lady at the end of the movie. I can easily connect P.L. Travers to Mary Poppins, because they are both proper, British, and inwardly kind. I really enjoyed the movie and the “behind the scenes” of one of the most classic stories of all time.
-Kelsey H., 10th grade