It’s been a while since Emma Thompson has been a fixture at the Academy Awards; her last win was in 1996 for writing the screenplay of Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility. That might change now, with her incomparable work in the new Disney biopic Saving Mr. Banks, where Thompson plays the icy Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers as she gets humbugged by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who’s intent on making her astringent fantasy novels into a big, splashy musical.
Saving Mr. Banks opens this weekend in limited release and then wider on December 20. My review is at PopMatters:
One of the great selling points of Saving Mr. Banks is this clash of characters. Travers is the proper British writer representing an already fading ideal of Victorian decorum. Disney is the modern American televisual salesman who has made a career out of ransacking the myths of the world and repackaging them in singing, dancing, animated Technicolor. The practically perfect Thompson is all stiff lip and querulous frown, her Travers wondering what fresh hell she’s just stumbled into; Thompson delivers more information out of a slight narrowing of the eyes than most actors can with an entire speech…
Here’s the trailer: