Family Matters: Why “Saving Mr. Banks” is 2013’s Most Important Film

ImageImageImageA blog by: Thomas Williamson Domol

“Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest height, lets go fly a kite, and send it soaring.”-Marry Poppins

I’ll say this right from the start: this is not a review of Disney’s Saving Mr. Banks. I’m sure you can already surmise from the title of this blog that I enjoyed the film immensely, and if you have been lucky enough to watch this film, I’m sure you’d agree. I didn’t love this film because of the incredible cast, I didn’t love this film because Hanks and Thompson both deliver virtuoso performances, no, I loved it because it’s a teaching device. Once again teaching the world why family is the most important thing in life.

Leave it to Disney, a company that has made great strides in obtaining as much “big name” intellectual properties as humanly possible (Marvel Lucasfilm, Avatar) to make a film that so painstakingly depicts a woman (Travers) who will go to any lengths to preserve the memory of her fond moments with her troubled father. What Walt Disney truly wanted to do was make a “family” film, a film that gave people that special moment with their loved ones to hold on to and cherish.

At one point in the film, Disney is making his “hard sell” to Travers, who is in a word reluctant to sign over the rights to Marry Poppins (“Never just Marry”), she says “she’s family”, to which Walt pauses and replies, “The mouse is family too”. What this film teaches us (and we’ll see how long the message sticks), is that we will go to the ends of the earth and back for the love of our family, and do just about anything to protect their memory and integrity.

This part of our lives gives us virtue, it gives us hope, and it gives us a sense of purpose. We need that notion in the world, we need to be less inhibited and allow ourselves to have imaginations, and have fun again.  Marry Poppins was a dear part of P.L. Travers (actually named Helen Goff) life and she wanted nothing more than to keep her untarnished. The most marvelous scene in the film, in one in which legendary Disney song writers Bob and Phil Sherman, (played by Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak) play “Let’s Go Fly A Kite”, the moment in which Travers gives in to the whimsy and fun and essentially “signs off” on the rights to make the film, ostensibly.

It’s a fantastic and joyous moment, and one of the most inspired scenes I have witnessed in film in years. You need to see this movie, not because of the cinematography or the chance to see Walt Disney portrayed for the first time ever on film, you need to see it to become a better person.

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