Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — When the cold bitter weight of life collapses on you like a freezer full of cheap burritos, sometimes the best thing to do is go and see a movie. Yes, even the movies that are supposedly based on real events as there is a certain level of embellishment usually taken to make the more depressing things less so.
Though I planned originally to swoop into a theater on my own umbrella before this flick had left it, missing it until DVD (Because Blue-Ray is for rich folks who didn’t just think about microwaving that week old fish in the fridge) has allowed me to further consider that that this Disney movie wasn’t going to be as cheery as some of the others. This is important because part of the premise of the film is the process it took to bring possibly the most diabetes inducing happy lady they ever had to the silver screen. Perhaps this, and my predisposition to not having expectations allowed me to enjoy a great deal the effort that was “Saving Mr. Banks.”
One of the things you come to understand about Mary Poppins is that the reason why she was so delightful in the film was due to the iron will of Mr. Walt Disney (As portrayed by Tom “Forrest Andy Turner” Hanks). The story here shows that the woman who wrote the books and created the character Pamela Travers/Helen Goff (Emma Thompson), was a stereotypically British woman, who thought cartoons and the like were entirely too silly.
We learn that Walt spent a couple of decades fighting with Pamela to secure the rights to the film and then only had to struggle more as it was being written into script as she pretty much was against everything the whole step of the way. It would be easy to condemn this woman for her joy crushing soul, if it weren’t for the repeated flashbacks to her childhood in Australia, which apparently would have destroyed all but the love of watching paint dry for anyone. Then again, it actually brought a new level of respectability to the whole story getting to see how much these characters meant to the people who created them and who wouldn’t be conflicted if they had a tipsy Colin Farrel (who played Pamela’s father) for a dad.