Saving Mr. Banks: The story behind Mary Poppins

Saving Mr BanksSAVING MR. BANKS reveals the motivation behind both the novel and the film of Mary Poppins, a childhood classic for most of us. Through a series of flashbacks we see Mrs. P.L. Travers’ troubled childhood and we see her blame the experience on her mother. She hated her mother for not loving her the way her father did. The death of her alcoholic father, on the verge of the firing line, left her alone with her non-coping, suicidal mother and her younger sisters.

The modern day Mrs. Travers, now in the sunny state of California, after twenty long years of Disney asking for the rights to her book, is still saying no. She says no to Mr. Banks having a moustache. She says no to the style of the house they live in. She says no to the film being an animation. She says no to the film being a musical. She says no to the fruit basket in her room and the complimentary soft toys. She says no to a guided tour of Disneyland accompanied by Mr. Walt Disney himself. In fact, there isn’t a lot she says yes to, until she is told that Mr. Banks fixes the children’s kite; she then begins to dance around the rehearsal room to the catchy ‘Let’s Go Fly a Kite’. The icy Mrs. Travers begins to melt into a puddle Disney can scoop up. But she still says no.

The sweetness, persistence and charm of Walt Disney helps open up the darkness of her past, helping break her out of her depression over her unhappy childhood. She was holding on to her past and he helped bring her into the present by saving Mr. Banks. To do so, he had to specially fly to her London home and tell her that he knew Poppins did not come to save the children, since he himself knew a Mr. Banks (his father). He urges her to let her past go otherwise she wouldn’t ever move on. These words of wisdom were exactly what she needed to hand over the rights to her book.

Saving Mr. Banks shows the cracks. Mrs. Travers was not a magical governess and neither was she Yeats, as she is told by her father in the film. However, she was never meant to be. Personally, I think that this film is a lot more relatable than the cherished Mary Poppins. As fun as it might be to have a magical flying governess come into your childhood home it is just not realistic. The closest you will get to that is your grandmother. Disney’s optimistic attitude brings her back into the real world and makes her realise that Mr. Banks can be saved.