Two years ago, when The Artist won Best Picture, it was not difficult to understand why. It's the kind of movie Hollywood loves whether it was actually best picture material or not. I was going to say that I don't really think it was but, upon looking back at the other nominees that year, it didn't have a lot of strong competition, at least from the movies I saw. Come on, War Horse? Really? Which is not to say that War Horse wasn't good, but best picture? That's the best they could do? And as for The Artist, Singin' in the Rain already told that story and did a much better job of it. But, anyway...
Saving Mr. Banks is that same kind of film, the kind that Hollywood ought to love. It's about how one of the most beloved movies in movie history got made. And it's the first time Walt Disney has ever been portrayed in a movie, so that's saying a lot. And, just to put all of this perspective, when Disney first heard that the movie was being made, they're first reaction was to buy it and squash it. See, there's a reason Walt has never been portrayed onscreen before. However, after looking at it, they decided not only not to do that but to produce it! It's that kind of movie.
And it's good. I mean, it's really good. I know it is because my wife cried through about the last third of it. I will be extremely surprised if it doesn't get the best picture Oscar this year. Overall, from what we've seen so far, I think it's most well rounded show out there. And it leaves you feeling good after having had a good cry.
Not to get into what the movie is about, but it's about how Walt Disney convinced P. L. Travers to give him the rights to make Mary Poppins, something it took him 20 years to do. Along with that story, you see the story of the defining moment of Travers' childhood, which shows why Poppins was so important to her. From what I've seen from fact-checking, the movie is fairly accurate, which is another plus. A big one, actually. They did have hours and hours of audio recordings from sessions with Travers and some of the people working on the movie (because she insisted that everything be recorded), so they wouldn't have had a good excuse for it not being accurate.
So, first, let's talk Tom Hanks. Oh, man, Tom Hanks was... incredible. There were moments, especially when they showed him watching himself on the old black and white TV show Walt introduced, where he was just like Disney. And, from everything I've read, Hanks did capture Walt to an amazing extent. I do know that the folks at Disney Studios shaved Hanks' mustache to the exact dimensions that Walt wore his. His only being called a supporting actor for this role, but I think it's a safe bet that he will at least get a nomination for it. I will not at all be surprised if he wins. Actually, I hope he does. [I haven't seen Captain Phillips, yet, but he's also being talked about for a best actor nomination for that one.]
Then, we have to talk Emma Thompson, and she may just deserve best actress for her performance. That's a tough call for me, though, because Sandra Bullock carried an entire movie virtually by herself, and that's an impressive feat. However, I'm not sure anyone else could have pulled off Travers the way Thompson did. It was a great performance, and she and Hanks were perfect together.
Paul Giamatti was lovable as Ralph, the chauffeur. This role probably wasn't especially difficult for Giamatti, but he was perfect in it. Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak were awesome as Richard and Robert Sherman. Not the parts called for too much, but it was great to see them in the movie. They were good, too. Especially this one part with Novak, but I don't want to spoil it, so you'll just have to see it; then, I'll tell you which one.
Which brings us to Colin Farrell. Farrell is one of those underrated actors who is almost always excellent despite the horrible movies he's in. I mean, Alexander wasn't really his fault, and how can you blame him for not turning down Total Recall? At any rate, he's wonderful and wonderfully tragic as Travers Goff. He was my favorite part of the movie. I mentioned that my wife cried, but there were some scenes of Goff with his daughter where I almost cried. That's kind of saying a lot for me.
I loved this movie. Of the possible best picture nominees, if you have to pick just one, this is the one I would recommend. Sure, Gravity is visually amazing, but this movie has heart that Gravity just doesn't have, no matter how you feel about Walt Disney. And let me make this clear, the movie is not about Walt Disney; the script was written (and not changed) before Disney (the Company) had a hand in it; the movie is about Travers and how she was ultimately convinced to allow Walt to make Mary Poppins into a movie. It's definitely worth seeing.
Make sure you stop by Indie Writers Monthly today. Check out my post and the contributors and follow along. I'm not really sure where we're headed with that, yet, but, if you like sci-fi and/or fantasy, I'm sure it's going to be a good ride.