My Oscar Best Pix: Saving Mr. Banks

If I was asked to select the best picture for the Oscars, which of course I’m not, Saving Mr. Banks  would top my list. I’ve seen most of the nominated movies, and while they are great films, nothing compares to how SMB resonated with me.  Unknown

I was 8 in 1964 and Mary Poppins  Unknown was the first movie I remember ever seeing. It was a big deal: my parents took my six-year-old  sister and me to the movie theater, leaving my 1-year -old brother and infant sister home with a sitter.  That alone was exciting.

Suddenly I was immersed in a totally foreign world: nannies, London, suffragettes, and chimney sweeps! And songs and silly words like “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”!  The movie worked its magic.

Saving Mr. Banks shows how Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, wooed Mary Poppins’ author, PL Travers for 20 years, finally succeeding to  convince her to grant Disney the movie rights.  Flashbacks of Travers’ childhood in the Australian outback intersperse the scenes in Disney studios. We see how the script and songs evolved, despite much disapproval from Travers, played by Emma Thompson.  She was adamant about having final say, despised animation, and disliked practically every song and characterization.

What emerges from this film, in addition to nostalgia for the original movie, is the importance of stories in our lives. The role of the imagination in childhood, the ability to suspend belief to create fantasy, the entering the world of story to right injustices or ease pain.

Speaking of stories, I also saw at home recently the 2006 film,  Miss Potter,  Unknown-1 starring Renee Zellweger as the famous creator of Peter Rabbit and his friends.  Anyone who remembers these delightful characters and their antics would love how the author defied her family’s and society’s early 1900’s expectations to become an author and financially independent. Once again, the power of story triumphs as does a woman’s desire to pursue her passion. Potter published more than 23 books, mostly between 1902-1922. Her books continue to sell worldwide.

Seeing Miss Potter, we immediately ordered a set of books and stuffed animals to share these stories with the grands. Not sure they’re ready for Mary Poppins yet, but we can’t wait!

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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27 Responses to My Oscar Best Pix: Saving Mr. Banks

  1. You’ve just convinced me to go see it! Thank you.

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  2. Judy says:

    Loved this movie and i would agree!!!

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  3. My parents took us to see Mary Poppins once a year. Back when the theatre was a once in a blue moon special outing. I loved that movie too!

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  4. Miriam says:

    I so want to see this movie. Have been so busy with *life with barely any time (sadly) to watch movies, read, or even write. Just an occasional visit to one of my fav bloggers (that would be you!). Thanks for reminding me of the small pleasures of life. Can’t wait to see this movie, and never mind all the ones that just happened to be nominated for Oscars. This one seems so delightful. I too have memories of going at age 5 to see the movie with my parents. And just the other night, I saw a rendition of the play at a local charity event that my sister took me to in New York. What a wonderful story….

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  5. Haven’t seen this one yet, but getting ready for our annual Oscar’s party and will! It looks wonderful. I loved this movie and then my kids did… I used to dance to the album of the movie (that and Bambie) around my grandparent’s living room. Oh, the memories!

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  6. I haven’t seen ST yet, but I will now, having read your review. Thanks!

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  7. Enjoy! And rent Miss Potter– you’d especially love it- though it depicts only one rainy scene in the UK– so obviously the movies!

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  8. ksbeth says:

    i haven’t seen miss banks yet, but did see miss potter and loved every minute of it. i never knew the story behind the story. great post, beth

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  9. Thanks,Lisa. I have put Miss Potter on top of my queue at Netflix. I look forward to seeing it, and will also try to get to Saving Mr.Banks. Tom Hanks is a favorite, and I don;t think he would put himself in a position of playing a role depicting a loathsome character like the Wolf of Wall Street.

    I took my older grands to see Mary Poppins, and I was probably more enchanted than they were.
    Would you believe that for my b’day we are going to see my choice of a show: “Matilda?”

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  10. Alex Compton says:

    Sadly, with 3 kids and a crazy travel schedule, I have not seen a single ‘best picture’ nominee! I trust you, so this will be my first one!

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  11. karen r-w says:

    When our son was two we took him on a plane ride to california to see relatives. He unfortunately developed the flu and the 5 hour plane ride became ever more difficult because he vomited every time he got wound-up. Mary Poppins was a life saver!!! He was mesmerized by the cartoon world after they go into the sidewalk and sat unblinking for the remainder of the flight. What was funny was he didn’t even have sound and he still sat through the whole movie – even laughing hysterically at times (a nice change from the first half of the flight). Usually we don’t let him watch anything but Mary Poppins became my best friend and last hope of not jumping out of the plane haha.

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  12. hugmamma says:

    You’re the second blogger who’s raved about this film. I’d best hie me off to see it before it’s yanked.

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  13. hugmamma says:

    What a heart-wrenching, loveable story! hugs for sending me to see it. I’ll be writing a post.

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  14. Leah says:

    I loved Saving Mr. Banks! It was so rich with stories and lessons. Not sure it will win best picture but I’d certainly vote for it.

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  15. Proud Parent says:

    Hey Lisa,
    Thanks for the review. I haven’t seen many movies lately and frankly, SMB would not have been on the top of my list of must see movies. What did you like most about the movie?

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