One thing should be highlighted here from the beginning: nowhere during Saving Mr. Banks, we see a warning about a story based on true facts. We know that Walt Disney and P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, had a complicated story around the movie adaptation for Travers books. We see pictures and drawings from the time, the characters are real people, but anywhere in the movie I saw the true facts warning.
Even if it is interesting to know that a story was based in facts, every movie is fiction (yes, even documentaries), and we should not forget that. Ever. I'm being so categorically direct because it is tempting to think that what we are seeing had truly happened with people that in a way are familiar to us, but being attached to that idea is a way to create a lot of unnecessary issues. A bit part, if not everything that I've read about this movie emphasizes how it is different from what really happened, how P.L. Travers was not like that, how she never really liked the movie, how the film is far from reality, etc, etc.
The thing is, the film is another reality. It is a creation. Historic accuracy is a delusion (even in history books, if you think carefully). In Saving Mr. Banks, the attention to this lack of accuracy is an obstacle for what matters here: a heartfelt story about two individuals that identify in each other the same hurt from childhood, even if their circumstances were diverse. What is similar is that they deal with that sadness through art. Life is a circle, fiction leads to life that leads to fiction, and in both what we see happening probably has happened before.
Winds in the east
Mist coming in
Like something is brewing
About to begin
Can't put me finger
On what lies in store
But I fell what's to happen
All happened before.
The first and last scene tells about that in a simple and beautiful way. From the books to the movie to other narratives and back to the books. A history is told and retold. I was emotional in both, as I was with some scenes. The characters tell a story that is perpetrated through generations and generations. If it was exactly like that with the actual P.L.Travers, I really don't know. But what she told me in the movie sounds very real to me. As Walt says to Travers in the movie, a character that tells so much to us is very real - coming from fiction or not.
|Saving Mr. Banks. Directed by John Lee Hancock. With: Tom Hanks, Emma|
Thompson, Annie Rose Buckley. Writers: Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith. EUA,
2013, 125 min., Datasat/Dolby Digital, Color (Cable TV).
PS: I was cautious about this movie since I've seen the trailer. It looked too sugary and stereotyped. But from the first scene, as I sad, with the quotation above in Colin Farrel's voice over, I forgot every precaution. And the movie got better and better, a bit sugared sometimes, it is true, but never silly. And I loved all the stuffed toys and the wonderful desserts rejected by Travers. I was like a kid during the movie, wishing fiercely that I could have been there :)