Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) has pursued the rights to Mary Poppins from author P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) for 20 years. Finally she agrees to fly out from London to LA to read the proposed script. She won’t sign over the rights until she’s happy. Only she is never happy.
She doesn’t want it to be a musical, to be a “silly animation”, to contain the colour red. She’s pedantic and snobby about all things American. Disney can’t understand her reluctance to hand over her most cherished character, but we get an insight through flashbacks to her childhood in Australia and her adoring relationship with her alcoholic father, who worked in a bank. As did Mr Banks in the story…
The title and an overacting Colin Farrell as the father are two of the few weak points of this highly enjoyable culture-clash comedy. If it takes some liberties with the characters; well, that’s fitting, really. 8/10
Released January 9, 2014.