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Saving Mr. Banks

The true story of Mary Poppins’ journey to the big screen is imaginatively brought to life, with terrific performances from an all-star cast.

Saving Mr. Banks

  • Director John Lee Hancock
  • Producers Alison Owen, Ian Collie, Philip Steuer
  • Screenwriters Kelly Marcel, Sue Smith
  • With Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman
  • USA-UK 2013
  • 126 mins
  • UK distribution The Walt Disney Company


Audiences around the UK will have the exclusive chance to see Opening Night red carpet footage beamed from Odeon Leicester Square followed by a screening of Saving Mr. Banks for free! See showfilmfirst.com/pin/871214 to take part.

‘When trying to express yourself it’s simply quite absurd, to leaf through lengthy lexicons to find the perfect word,’ sang Mary Poppins in Walt Disney’s adaptation of PL Travers’ much-loved novels. Fifty years on from that classic movie’s production, the only appropriate superlative for this magical new film about its making is one that gives full expression to inventiveness and creativity: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! PL Travers (Emma Thompson) travels from London to Hollywood to participate in the development of the screenplay for Mary Poppins after 20 years of resisting Walt Disney’s (Tom Hanks) overtures to buy the rights to her books. Fiercely protective of her characters, wary of sentimentality and unsettled by Los Angeles and the ways of the Studio, she finds herself vulnerable to vivid memories of her childhood in far north Australia. Directed by John Lee Hancock and written by British newcomer Kelly Marcel and Australian Sue Smith, Saving Mr. Banks is precise in its pacing and fulsome in its development of character and range of dialogue, effortlessly mining the comic potential of the cultural clash between Travers and Disney, while giving full emotional depth to the formative childhood scenes. Sharply funny toe-tapping sequences in the Studio, where Travers creates havoc for writer Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and music maestros The Sherman Brothers (Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak), alternate with dramatically darker scenes in which a young girl’s (Annie Buckley) imagination is fuelled by stories from her father (Colin Farrell), a troubled, irresponsible man who is nevertheless impossible not to love. Positively overflowing with terrific performances (add Paul Giamatti, Ruth Wilson and Rachel Griffiths to the long list) and an ebullient love of storytelling, Saving Mr. Banks is also a finely honed ode to the brilliance and volatility of two very different creative forces.


Clare Stewart

Closing Night around the UK

Audiences around the UK will be able to see footage from the red carpet on Closing Night beamed live by satellite and followed by a screening of Saving Mr. Banks. Please check back in late September for more details.

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