Several years ago -- sometime after our daughter fled the nest -- Donna and I started a tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas day. We've missed a few over the years, but more often than not, you will find us sitting in a movie theater on Christmas day huddled under our coats watching a movie. This year, we went to see Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
The movie follows the relationship between P. L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, and Walt Disney, founder of the Disney empire, as Disney attempts to secure the rights for the book in order to make a movie. The movie blends flashbacks to 1906 Australia of Travers' childhood with scenes from the present, set in 1961. Most of the present action occurs in Los Angeles, though some does occur in the London home of Travers.
Travers, played exceedingly well by Thompson, is obstinate and arrogant, and she is reluctant to give Disney the rights to her book lest he tarnish her creation with animation or other unworthy movie tricks. Disney, having promised his daughters to make a movie based upon their favorite childhood book, is equally determined to secure the rights from Travers.
We liked the movie. Personally, I found the flashbacks to be a bit too much. Though they are necessary to develop the plot and the deeply personal feelings Travers has for her book, I think they could have been selected more carefully to allow more time in the present. But that certainly doesn't tarnish the movie at all.
I enjoyed seeing how Disney's associates brought a movie to life, creating the music and script. It made me want to watch the movie Mary Poppins again. The movie also reaffirmed the character of Walt Disney for me. As I child, I watched his Sunday night show without fail; my childhood would not have been complete without all the great stories that came from that TV show.