Saving Mr. Banks

Disney goes Meta. Forrest Gump wants to make a movie called Mary Poppins but the author of the novel, Nanny McPhee, is reluctant to cede control because she is too busy thinking back to when Colin Farrell dressed up as Johnny Depp from Finding Neverland but in Australia.
Emma Thompson is wonderful as a female version of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets, the kind of ornery curmudgeon who we love watching being horrifically rude to everyone safe in the knowledge that it’s all because of something’s rotten in the state of childhood and by the final reel she will have redeemed herself with fat wet tears. A disabled child is mentioned but thankfully not wheeled on. Tom Hanks’ impersonation of Disney isn’t bad, though I can’t help but remember Hanks the comedian. 

Disney (the company) have done a clever thing here, taking on its critics, allowing them enough room to say all the rude things they can about Disney – which (Walt) Disney listens to with frankly implausible patience – and then ultimately getting them to succumb to the magic once Walt has got his way on absolutely everything: Mary Poppins is a musical, there’s animation, he has a mustache and there is the color red. Of course we all succumb. You will, I did, even Mrs Travers, because a spoon full of sugar helps the sugar go down.

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