Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Story of Saving Mr. Banks


I found this movie to be deeply moving. It was so clear that her own life was the inspiration for her writing of Mary Poppins.

And what a surprise to find out that the reason she showed up was not to save the children but to save the father. Because, of course, she tried but failed to save her own.

The movie tells three stories. The heartbreaking tale of a father she adores who encourages her to think of life as enchanting, but also forces her to face just how agonizingly painful life can be when he not only succumbs to alcoholism but dies after promising never to leave her.

It’s also the tale of how she created a story that fixes her childhood by enchanting it and bringing in a magical helper, who, unlike her aunt, can actually save the day. One symbol of that is when the song writers decided to make Spoonful of Sugar go up on the word “down,” and invent a song for the end of the movie that celebrates the fact that the father fixes the kite.

But ostensibly, it’s the story of the persistence of Walt Disney, who after all is trying to be the kind of father who keeps the promise he made to his daughter, as he campaigns to get P. L. Travers to let him make her book into a movie & her insistence that the movie be as close to her ideal as possible.

If you haven’t seen the movie, I do recommend it. But be aware that it will not be cute and perky, but a lot more painful than you might have expected.

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  1. when life gets in the way it is reassuring to know that some one, somewhere, sometime has been there too. And after all, aren't all Stories and fairy tales based on human existence?

    1. I think so!! And yes, that is reassuring. Which is part of the reason I am now reading her biography. Great to see you!


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