Although generations of readers have responded to the magical governess of the beloved children’s book ‘Mary Poppins, ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ the story behind the making of the movie, resonates emotionally because of the truth behind the story.
The conflict between the author of the book (P.L. Travers, played by Emma Thompson), and the film producer determined to film the classic children’s book (Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks), is the basic plot element of the story; but the autobiography of the writer is the heart of the hit movie.
The author’s hypersensitive approach to any alterations to her book came from a fact most people are not aware of: ‘Mary Poppins’ was informed by the author’s life story. Mary Poppins was based on the author’s Aunt Ellie (played by Rachel Griffiths), who helped transform the child’s difficult home life.
However, according to the review in The News Herald, Disney comes to appreciate that Travers is actually most protective of her father (played by Colin Farrell), whom she loved despite the raging alcoholism that devastated the family’s life.
He is the ‘Mr. Banks’ of Travers’ book, and it is Disney’s recognition of her love for him that finally convinces the author to entrust her beloved characters to his care.