Saving Mr. Banks ~ The “Tear Factor”

December 22, 2013



I remember months ago, when I first saw a preview for “Saving Mr. Banks” I had thought to myself, “Oh man, this movie is going to make me cry!” I originally thought, seeing the likeness of Walt Disney brought to life by Tom Hanks would really get to me.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia of it all, seeing “Walt” on screen, in settings based on true events, wouldn’t that be something to tip the scales on the old “Tear Factor” for some? I would say so.  To my surprise, it wasn’t so much the likeness of Walt that made me cry, it was much more than that.  Let me explain….

Last night, we decided to take my boys, Andrew 12 and Aidan 9 to see Saving Mr. Banks.  They wanted to see it because it’s a Disney film, and I sort of wanted them to see because of the historical aspect of it all.  So, we get our over-priced movie treats and found our seats.  My husband takes a big stack of napkins out of his pocket and places them on my lap, saying “here, you’ll probably need these.” Yes, even he knew my tears would be flowing at some point.  Now, granted, I get a lump in my throat whenever I see a Disney film, just from the opening where they show the Castle and play a quick few seconds of “When You Wish Upon A Star.” Yes, I’m a sap, but I digress.  I didn’t do much as far as reading spoilers about this film, I wanted to go in with a clean slate, more of an open mind to it all.  The movie started off slow, I wasn’t sure where everything was going, with all the flashbacks to P.L. Travers childhood and how it pertained to the events going on during the making of Mary Poppins.  P.L. Travers was quite a stickler, to but it mildly.  She gave the Sherman Brothers and Walt’s staff quite a run for their money, and she made it difficult for Mary Poppins to be done is traditional Disney style.  From what I did read previously, I thought, wow, she was a real pain in the butt, and for all extensive purposes, she was. But…. why?

To my surprise a lot of the tears I was anticipating came because of P.L. Travers, not from Walt Disney.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there was a part in the film where Walt says that Mickey is family to him, and I cried, it was touching.  There was also a part near the end, when Walt was talking about his childhood, and yet, the tear factor was there too.  But, when the audience was shown the back story of P.L. Travers, and what her childhood was like, it was a bit of a tear-jerker! You got to see the love she had for her father, who was not as perfect as she wanted him to be. The struggles her father had, and the heartache it caused her mother and in turn herself, well, it was sort of heartbreaking.  It made you understand a little bit better why she was such a hard nosed person, and didn’t want to give an inch to anyone in her life.  She wanted Mary Poppins to be done, almost as a redemption for her father, to give her story a happy ending, unlike what happened in real life for her.

So, back to the part when Walt was talking to Mrs. Travers about his past.  That scene was very emotional, because it wrapped up so much of the feelings from the entire movie, and got to the heart of the issues that were had for “Pam” as he called her, as well as in his own life.  I started crying in that scene, and probably continued to do so for the rest of the movie.  The film showed Mrs. Travers basically giving in, and letting Walt and his team take her beloved Mary Poppins, and turn her book into something that the world would love.  And they did indeed love it.  The end of the movie showed a softer side of Pam, giving her plush Mickey a hug, going to the Mary Poppins premiere, taking Mickey’s arm into the theater, and crying at the end of the movie.  I cried too.  I cried a lot.  In turn, so did my entire family.  Well, not my little guy, he was worried, wondering why Mommy was crying! My older son had a huge smile on his face, but with tears streaming down. That boy doesn’t usually cry, so that’s something.  But, that’s what Disney magic does.  It brings out emotions from within, it makes us feel things that maybe we would otherwise keep inside.  How amazing is that?

Once the film was over, the “magic” was still going.  They showed old photos of Walt and P.L. Travers, and other “real” people from Saving Mr. Banks.  The best added touch, was when they played the actual recordings of P.L. Travers and Walt’s team talking over the details of Mary Poppins.  The detail that the actors put forth was spot on, “Pam” really did sound just as she was portrayed in the movie, it was so neat to hear.  The film wrapped up in a nostalgic way, it was perfect. When the theater lights came back on, and all was said and done, the only word that came out of my mouth was “wow.”

I left feeling good, but emotionally drained.  It’s just like that old joke, “My favorite ride at Disney is the Emotional Roller Coaster!” How true, how true… So, yes, as expected, Saving Mr. Banks was indeed a film that requires tissues when you see it.  Granted, my tears came for many other reasons, the idea as with any Disney film is the same.  Disney movies have heart, they make you feel things that maybe you don’t always feel, just like that feeling when you visit one of their theme parks.  How do they do that? I don’t know what it is, other than good old Disney Magic.  So, if you haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks yet, I recommend that you do.  Go in with an open mind, a stack of napkins from the concession stand, and let the magic of Disney take you away for a little while, you’ll love it.


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6 thoughts on “Saving Mr. Banks ~ The “Tear Factor””
  1. You hit the nail right on the head about the movie. I was moved and saw what most fans or performers don’t see. Forgiveness is something that doesn’t come easy in life. But it does eventually.

    Can’t wait to buy The DVD when it comes out.

  2. My daughter and I are on vacation at WDW right now and were thrilled to see this film opening night at the AMC 24 in DD. The huge theater was full of Disney employees, fellow vacations and other assorted Disney nuts. Mary Poppins was the first movie I ever saw in a theater and has always been my favorite. How did I not know this story? I laughed out loud, cried out loud, clapped out loud and accidently spoke out loud to the screen. As did every other person in the theater. I left with a lighter heart. This is a MUST see for Ny Disney fan, and in my top ten movies of all time. Watching it with that crowd was fantastic! It’s a great film!

  3. I can’t wait to see it!! You sound like me…almost everything Disney makes me cry! Thanks for the wonderful review! I will make sure to have extra tissues.

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