The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock returns with his latest story of culture clashes and adoptees being groomed for bigger futures by their wealthy foster families. In the case of Saving Mr. Banks, the rich benefactor is Walt Disney, and his reluctant charge is author P.L. Travers, who proves far more resistant to having Disney adapt her Mary Poppins books than that football player kid did to playing football for Sandra Bullock.
No less of a terror on the field though: As portrayed by Emma Thompson with a prim, slow simmer, Travers throws up blocks every step of the way, proving cold to Disney’s charms—even when amplified by Tom Hanks—rejecting all attempts to add animation and the music of the Sherman Brothers (played by B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzmann), and generally behaving like a giant downer, even at the happiest place on Earth. Can Walt Disney eventually win her over? History tells us that it didn’t matter—the movie was made anyway, to Travers’ dismay—but something tells us Disney’s Disney movie might serve that medicine with a heaping spoonful of sugar.