For most of the movie, I was wondering why Emma Thompson’s character was so bitter and hateful. The constant flashbacks was also somewhat confusing. Why do we need to flashback every couple of minutes? Heck, for the first part of the movie, probably half the movie was nothing but flashbacks.These are the things that cause the movie to drag and drag badly. I started looking at my watch. Was it time to leave?
Then, toward the latter 3rd of the movie, there is a scene between Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson which makes this movie worth watching. The acting is second to none. Hanks and Thompson in a room just acting. One on One. Their reactions. Their faces. Their phasing is just wonderful. The writing is perfect. The lighting was perfect. Thankfully, the director did not try to do too much. He simply let the actors act. It is why this movie is worth seeing. This is why this movie is magical. (Oh and it helps if you are a Mary Poppins fan. If you can sing along, it really makes the movie a little more special. Let me add that there are only a few movies which are as “magical” and wonderful as Mary Poppins.)
There are several other strong performances in this movie. Colin Farrell was outstanding as Travers Goff. Ruth Wilson, who had a strong performance in the Lone Ranger, is also outstanding as Margaret Goff, the mother the lead character. Paul Giamatti , who I was trying to place for most of the movie, he played John Adams in the TV miniseries, was fabulous. It was good to see Bradley Whitford in this movie also. I would be remiss if I did not point out Annie Rose Buckley. She played the young PL Travers (Emma Thompson’s character). I’m hard-pressed to find a performance by young actor that has been better in the last several years.
Some movies are all about plot. Recently, most movies are all about action (Fast and Furious, they have 6 of this films. 6!!!!) Saving Mr. Banks is all about acting. Sit back and watch great actors – do their thing.
By the way, some film critics thought that PL Travers was simply too unlikable. It turns out, she actually was that unlikable.