It’s that time of the year when Hollywood starts to think about those little gold statues and many a film becomes ‘Oscar’ worthy, here we have Disney laying their cards on the table in a film that also nods towards the 50th anniversary of the release of Mary Poppins (the greatest family film ever made – fact) on the big screen.
It followers the story of Mrs PL Travers as she realises the only way she is goi to have any money is to sell the rights of her books to the corporate world of Walt Disney. For 20 years she resisted before giving in to discussions. These discussions lead to her insisting that she has final say over every aspect of the film including that she does not want her beloved Mary Poppins (not just Mary) turned into a hideous animation. Disney gives her carte Blanche access to the writing team as they set about turning the pages into the delightful film we all have come to love.
Much of how the Mary Poppins film looks and plays out is explained pretty we’ll hear, with both humour and tears as
Pamela I mean Mrs Travers reflects on a childhood in Australia where she idolised her banking father, initially with huge scepticism towards the whole Disney organisation.
As the film moves along a gentle pace, Mrs Travers starts to see her influence come though, including the light bulb moment for Walt Disney as he realises how he can make her happy with the film.
Emma Thompson is, not surprisingly, wonderful as PL Travers, bringing out the very best mix of Mary Poppins and Nanny McFee with the charm of a strict headmistress you cannot help be
I’ve that the makers have deliberately made her out to be an awfully cheerless, grumpy parody of the original, until you hear the real article on the recordings she insisted on making.
Tom Hanks is again brilliant as Walt Disney, who comes across as a very happy go lucky man who simply made a promise to his children that he intends on keeping. Whilst. It his finest role it certainly is another great one.
The rest of the cast certainly add to the story, Paul Giamatti as the driver assigned to Mrs Travers presents a warmth that even begins to break down her barriers. Both Colin Farrell and Ruth Jones are excellent as Pamela’s parents as they both go through difficult times together.
Much of the fun of this film is to spot the subtle references to the Disney Classic and there are obviously many.
Ultimately this is. Film that will have you laughing your head off one minute, only to be wiping a tear from your eye, the next.
Now where did I put my Mary Poppins DVD?