Saving Mr. Banks

Out Now On-Demand

Where her book ended, their story began.

Feel-good biopic dramedy about Walt Disney's (Tom Hanks) 20-year pursuit of the film rights to British author P.L. Travers' (Emma Thompson) novel Mary Poppins. Travers visits California in 1961, but Disney struggles to convince her of his screen vision and to crack her prim exterior. From the director of The Blind Side, co-starring Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti and Jason Schwartzman.

P.L Travers reflects on her childhood in 1906 Australia, a trying time for her family which not only molded her aspirations to write but one that also inspired the characters in her beloved 1934 book. None more so than the her caring father (Farrell), a tormented banker who, before his untimely death that same year, instills the youngster with both affection and enlightenment (and would be the muse for the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks, the character that the famous nanny comes to aid). While reluctant to grant Disney the rights, Travers comes to realise that the acclaimed storyteller has his own motives for wanting to make the film - which, like the author, hints at the relationship he shared with his own father.


Directed by

Written by

Biography, Comedy, Drama, Kids & Family, True Story & Biography


Rating: PG

USA, UK, Australia

“A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down” might have come from Mary Poppins but it’s a line that could also be applied to Walt Disney films in general. So it’s a welcome surprise to find that Saving Mr. Banks, with its sweeping soundtrack, emotional family backstory and Mickey Mouse motifs, is smart enough not to overdose on the sweet stuff.

That’s largely thanks to the brittle Mrs PL Travers (Emma Thompson), the fascinatingly difficult Poppins author whose early life in Australia with an alcoholic father forms much of the film’s narrative. She could have been easily demonized or overplayed but Thompson brings the author to life with wit and vulnerability. (Audio recordings of the author, played in the credits, show just how accurately Thompson gets the prim dialect.)

Meanwhile, the many flashbacks - featuring a convincing Colin Farrell as the drunk Dad - are sadly not as authentic and the audience is faced with the irony that they feel like sentimental Disney, the kind of thing Travers apparently despised, even if they do go some way to explaining how Mary Poppins was born.

Thankfully the heart of the story is the amusing culture clash between the repressed writer and the relentlessly optimistic Walt Disney (Tom Hanks, slightly overdoing the drawl), a man who seems the last person on earth to understand her. The scenes revealing the opposite are sensitively handled and moving and serve as a poignant reminder that even our brightest childhood stories come from dark places, something Disney knew all too well.

At The Movies (Australia)


I actually found this film moving in a strange way... I cried.

Dissolve (USA)


It would all seem horribly manipulative and distasteful if Saving Mr. Banks weren't buoyed by a strong sense of nostalgia and, yes, a good bit of Disney Magic(TM).

Empire (UK)


A delicate and brilliantly acted story of overcoming the past to embrace an uncertain future.

Guardian (UK)


A lovely, sentimental and quietly insightful account.

Hollywood Reporter


An affecting if somewhat soft-soaped comedy drama, elevated by excellent performances.

New York Times


The best parts offer an embellished, tidied-up but nonetheless reasonably authentic glimpse of the Disney entertainment machine at work.

Time Out London


The whole thing goes down with a few bucketloads of sugar. What keeps it from becoming sticky schmaltz is Emma Thompson, who plays Travers with wit and warmth.

Total Film (UK)


Hanks takes to Walt like a pair of cosy slippers, but it's Thompson who adds layers to a classy but predictable slice of Disney schmaltz.

Variety (USA)


Somewhere, Uncle Walt is smiling.



Three star generosity

Come one people let's not kid ourselves that this is some kind of work of art. It's a film about Disney heavily controlled by Disney and it is one of the most realistic cartoons they've made but it's still a cartoon.


A sweet, heart warming true story with wonderful performances from the brilliant Emma Thomson and the fantastic Tom Hanks. Highly recommended.

Watch the DVD extra on Mary Poppins to get the full story

Great acting

Story was a bit twisted

Disney was a lot meaner in real life than the film made him out to be.

Something new about Mary... Poppin's

This movie was pretty good. I was quite surprise at how simple it was to watch and omg... I did not know how much creative BS was given to make Mary poplin's the show that it is today. A goos watch and the acting was decent!

Clever coming together

A well written and clever coming together of two greats, both in the characters portrayed and the actors on screen as well as well played back up roles. A well rounded cast that is not top heavy with its Hollywood A-Listers. I was worried this portrayal may detract from the Mary Poppins of old but all this film does is create a need to re-watch the classic. All up a great film for all that can be enjoyed, well done!!

Quirky feelgood stuff

Pleasantly surprised with this quirky feelgood movie about Mary Poppins and the creativity involved. Emotionally touching to those who have had an interesting upbringing.

Top Notch Acting

Loved this well paced, well directed movie with superb acting from Emma Thompson. Also excellent and quirky supporting characters really add to the fun and humour of the film. Very interesting backstory on how Mary Poppins took over 20 years to be made and nearly didnt happen.


A touching, funny and heart-warming film. Thompson is outstanding as Travers, likeable when she really shouldn't be. The songs are nostalgically wonderful and it's great to see the creative process (and pain) behind them.

Saving Mr Banks

I truly loved this movie, I found it both funny and very moving throughout the whole movie.

I would highly recommend this film. The likeness to Walt Disney was amazing and the acting was superb, the characters were really believable as well.