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December 22nd, 2013

Movie Review - Saving Mr. Banks

Saving Mr. Banks

Starring: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman, Lily Bigham, Kathy Baker, Melanie Paxson, Rachel Griffiths, and more.

Directed by: John Lee Hancock Written by: Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith Cinematography by: John Schwartzman Music by: Thomas Newman

Premise: After a twenty year pursuit to get the rights to the character of Mary Poppins, Walt Disney finally has managed to get author Pamela Travers to come to LA. Despite money troubles, however, the last thing the author wants to do is give her treasured character away. As the battle of wills continues, a secondary story unfolds giving a deeper insight of why and what has shaped these two great people into who they are. (Rated PG-13)


1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Emma Thompson was a force of nature as the indomitable Mrs. Travers. Throughout the film she gives the audience little visuals cues which help the audience learn more about who she really is. As events proceed, it is easily visible as she opens herself more and more to the world again. Tom Hanks gave an excellent performance as Walt Disney. Colin Farrell was superb as Mr. Goff - just the right amounts of dreamer, father, and eventually broken man. Ruth Wilson too was quite excellent as Mrs. Goff - she had few lines, but her face and expressions told so many things. Annie Rose Buckley was too delightful as the free spririted Ginty. Paul Giamatti as Ralph added such an extra nice touch to everything. To be honest, all the actors, regardless of the size of their roles, added so very much to every single scene they should all be applauded.

2) Story - Total Thumbs Up: One of the things I totally loved about this film was the fact they took the mantra every writer must follow - "Show, don't tell". Because half the film is from the point of view of a young girl, there's a lot of information the audience needs which is given to us visually. This placed more than the usual weight on the actors, but they pulled it all off perfectly.

There were also some wonderful parallels between Mr. Goff, Mrs. Travers, and Ginty. Mrs. Travers has survived, but also hidden her true self so deep down, she's almost dead in everything but fact. The film also centered a lot around what makes us who we are. Adversity can make us push harder, do better, as well as crush us. The different results are there for all to see.

This is not a movie for kids. It's most definitely for adults. But for all those who've ever seen the film "Mary Poppins" the nostalgia levels will be very high. This makes the watching of the film all the more poignant as we discover all the background and effort and lifetimes that made "Mary Poppins" what it was.

Even the film's title holds multiple pieces of significance. This was a very multifaceted film. Kudos.

3) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Following the strictures of "show, don't tell" the locations played a very important part in conveying the story. The original Goff house as the Goff family departs, and the eventual arrival at their "new" home but the first of many visual clues. Just seeing the two locations imparted a tremendous amount of information to the audience.

The recreations of the 1960's Disney World and the production offices were great. And the hotel room where Mrs. Travers stayed at - the extreme attempt made to try to make her feel welcome - it screamed of desperation. Lovely.

4) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: From the clothing in 1906 Australia to 1961-1964 Los Angeles, there was an awesome amount of attention to detail. You never doubted which of the two timelines you were watching at any given time.

Conclusion: "Saving Mr. Banks" is a great film. I think it is a "must see" for anyone who's ever loved or seen "Mary Poppins". However, this is not a film for kids. It's a serious film with serious topics. It will, however, definitely enhance your appreciation for the 1964 film. If you get in the least bit emotional at movies, take tissues with you! I guarantee that you'll need them. Also, make sure to sit through most of the credits - between the photos and a recording they shared, it clinched the whole experience.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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