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CRITICS PRAISE SAVING MR. BANKS AT LONDON PREMIERE

October 21, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

We have another Oscar contender! Saving Mr. Banks, which tells the story of Walt Disney’s struggle with writer P.L. Travers to bring her Mary Poppins to the silver screen, had its world premiere Sunday night as the closing act at the London Film Festival and received an enthusiastic reception from film critics. Scott Foundas in Variety noted that the folks who nominate films for major awards “can scarcely resist this sort of mash note to the magic of movies.” The story, he writes, “has all the makings of an irresistible backstage tale, and it’s been brought to the screen with a surplus of old-fashioned Disney showmanship.” Leslie Felperin in the Hollywood Reporter observes that while none of the controversies surrounding Disney’s reign at his studio are alluded to here, “Taken strictly on its own terms, Saving Mr. Banks works exceedingly well as mainstream entertainment.” The British trade publication Screen Daily describes it as “a beautifully mounted, amusing and often rather moving delve into the background of how author P.L. Travers’ much-loved children’s book Mary Poppins, made its way to the big screen.” Reaction in the British Press is somewhat mixed. “A smart, witty entertainment,” writes David Gritten in the London Daily Telegraph, adding, “Job done. Spit spot.” But the uncredited reviewer in the London Independent sniffs that while it “is effective enough as a weepie,” it “also feels sanitized and disingenuous” and points out that “this is the Disney version of how Disney made Mary Poppins.” Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian dishes out much praise for the performances of Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers. Otherwise, he writes, Saving Mr. Banks “is an indulgent, overlong picture which is always on the verge of becoming a mess.”