Thank you for saving me from burning my Unlimited card!
A pleasant surprise to come out of the cinema after a film with a smile. An easygoing, heartwarming, brilliantly written and superbly acted drama.
Be warned, there will be no rant or comical anecdote. The critic in me is in action. Apologies.
Now for those who aren’t familiar, I have an Unlimited card which entitles me to see whatever I want at the cinema. A challenge that has drained me.
I have found it incredibly difficult to answer people when they ask, “What’s your top 10 this year?”. I feel that films this year have either failed to hit the mark, contained brilliant BUT poorly executed concepts or were merely poor rehashes of classics that didn’t need to be touched in the first place. However, I may finally have a contender to add to my 10.
Now, I’m a fan of Disney. And I’ll admit I loved the film Mary Poppins (Yeah, losing serious man points here but hey ho). When I first heard that a film had been made about the story behind the story of Mary Poppins, I was intrigued.
As soon as the film begun, I was hooked by the sheer acting grace of one of my favourite actresses Emma Thompson. We join the uptight snobby PL Travers as she is invited to LA by Walt Disney himself to discuss signing over the movie rights to Mary Poppins.
Strapped for cash and afraid to lose her home, Travers is reluctantly forced to consider his proposal BUT finds his charm offensive offensive. And as flashbacks reveal, her connection to the character is a lot more personal than anyone could have imagined.
As soon as Travers breached the loud, bright, OTT enthusiastic Californian bliss of Disney Studios, you knew you were in for a treat. From the flight complaints regarding a baby’s noise levels to the stray suitcase invading her designated space. Even the crazy terms that she demanded; NO animation, NO music and absolutely NO Dick Van Dyke?! Hilarious BUT true. This did actually happen.
The supporting cast were brilliant. Paul Giamatti was charming as the nauseatingly enthusiastic chauffeur. BB Novak and Jason Schwartzman were very funny as the mad song writers. However, cudos must be awarded to the legend that is Tom Hanks, who truly captivated Disney and stole the show at every chance.
Watching Thompson and Hanks banter and compete with one another was fantastic. Disney truly has his work cut out for him. I was disappointed that Thompson didn’t get an Oscar nod after all the consideration.
What sets this film apart was the flashback sequences. They slowly unearthed Traver’s past from her childhood in Australia with her father (Brilliantly portrayed by Colin Farrell). As we delve further into Travers’ past, we get to see why she’s so reluctant to let Mary Poppins go and why she has become the woman that she is today.
I felt that Ruth Wilson (who played Alice in the brilliant TV drama Luther) was wasted in her role. Understandably, the film’s focus was always going to be on Travers’ relationship with her father. A pivotal point in Poppin’s development BUT it was a shame. However, she was given a moment to shine in an emotionally tense scene. I don’t want to say too much now because I want people to see this.
An endearing little affair. If a little long at the tooth BUT I didn’t need a spoonful of sugar to make this go down (Come on, I had to get one in).
I initially thought that Travers’ character was exaggerated for the feature BUT during the closing credits (Hardly a spoiler), an old recording of a conversation with the real Travers and some Disney execs was played. Thompson really did do her justice.
Great acting, great writing, good film.