Awful adults (and Saving Mr Banks)


I saw a movie this morning that gave me terrible flashbacks. It was about a creative prima donna. There have been WAY too many of those in my life.

I am so over people who think their “genius” means they can act however they like and should be coddled for it. You know the types: they get so seduced by their own fairytale that they start to believe they’re entitled to be rude and unpleasant to those who work with them.

The magazine industry seems to breed them like rabbits.

The movie I saw was Saving Mr Banks. It’s about the author of Mary Poppins, P L Travers, and her horror over how Walt Disney wants to portray her heroine in the movie adaptation.

Mental Floss writes: “It took Disney—Walt himself, not a bunch of execs with money-stuffed briefcases—16 years of wheedling, convincing, and coaxing before author P.L. Travers would agree to let him make a movie. She believed that Disney would make Mary Poppins a twinkling, rosy-cheeked delight—and to an extent, she was right. Disney did give her script approval, but no doubt later regretted it, since script approval proved to be an extremely painful process. Every little word, every tiny detail, seemed to be a point of contention.”

And adds: “I get the feeling that Saving Mr. Banks romanticizes the Walt Disney-P.L. Travers relationship a lot.I’m guessing that if Ms. Travers were still around, she would be as happy about this film as she was about Mary Poppins.”

Not the least because it portrays her as a shrew who made the process a complete nightmare for everyone involved.  I’m not sure how obnoxious she was in real life but wow she’s a pain in the arse in the film.

“She was a hellcat,” insists the movie’s now-87-year-old composer Richard Sherman. “She came to America to work with us in the studio for two weeks and it was like having two weeks of ulcers. She was a total nightmare. She was terrible to us.

(Then there’s the whole business of Saving Mr Banks pretending she was thrilled with the finished film when she patently wasn’t. The Daily Beast notes:  “It’s happy ending. It’s just not true. Travers did, in fact, cry throughout the premiere of Mary Poppins in 1964. But those weren’t tears of joy; they were tears of frustration. Unlike in Saving Mr. Banks, Travers was never won over by Disney, his minions, or the movie they made together. Even at the premiere she was still pleading with Walt to axe the animated penguins. Disney’s response was brief and barbed. “Pamela, the ship has sailed,” he said. Then he walked away. Travers “spent the rest of her life maligning what she saw as the maudlin mess her Mary Poppins had become on the big screen”, and when she agreed to a stage an adaptation in the 1990s, she insisted, right there in her last will and testament, that no Americans, and certainly no one who had been involved in that dreadful Disney film, would be allowed to participate.”)

But back to her vile behaviour towards virtually everyone she encounters in the movie … Supposedly that’s ok because she has a very difficult childhood with her alcoholic father (played with devastating handsomeness by Colin Farrell) …

I’m also not jiggy with people using their difficult childhoods as excuses to be awful adults.

But I must say Emma Thompson did a brilliant job in the role.

In fact, Emma is pretty awesome all-round.

For example … Not only did she come out late last year and graciously forgive Helena Bonham Carter for stealing her then-husband Kenneth Branagh (they are believed to have begun an affair on the set of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, movie still above), saying it was ‘all blood under the bridge’ and adding ‘You can’t hold on to anything like that. It’s pointless. I haven’t got the energy for it. Helena and I made our peace years and years ago.’


Emma went on to marry a gorgeous, younger man, Greg Wise, who she met on the set of the 1995 version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility (he’s seven years her junior).


The pair seem to have lots of fun together. She joked about her perm in Saving Mr Banks:  ‘It was a nightmare! People would bleat in the streets as I went by. I didn’t have sex for six months!”

The couple have one daughter, Gaia, 13, and a son, Tindyebwa Agaba, 26, a former child soldier from Rwanda whom they informally adopted when he was 16.

I know.

She also presented an award at last month’s Golden Globes with her shoes in one hand and a martini in the other.

My heroine.


And then there’s her Saving Mr Banks co-star Tom Hanks, who plays Walt Disney. It made me slightly uncomfortable to see him play Walt as such an awwww shucks nice bloke when he’s often demonised as being an anti-Semite who socialised with Nazis.

Although the Daily Beast insists: “And yet even though Disney seems to have uttered some racially insensitive remarks, associated with anti-Semites, and met a Nazi or two, he doesn’t seem to have been a racist, bigot, or fascist himself.”

Wish I’d read that before I saw the movie.

I’ve decided I quite love Tom Hanks in my old age. I was up at my parents house over Christmas and found myself transfixed when I stumbled across You’ve Got Mail on the tellie.

He’s just so nice.

And it seems to extend to real life. Take these two recent photos he posted on WhoSay:

And then there’s the way he faked these pics with a pretending-to-be-passed-out fan in a restaurant …

Not to mention the series of videos of him meeting autistic fan Sarah Moretti backstage at his Broadway show, “Lucky Guy”, in which the actor played late Daily News columnist Mike McAlary …



Total sweetheart.

Anyways … my verdict on Saving Mr Banks … if you can get past how uncomfortable the lead character makes you, you’ll end up all teary and thrilled with the concoction in the end, no matter how far it may be from the truth.

I have no idea how Emma missed out on an Oscar nomination for it. (Or how my friend who saw the movie with me got a $100 parking ticket for overstaying her 2-hour spot and I didn’t.)

How about you: seen any good movies lately?





2 thoughts on “Awful adults (and Saving Mr Banks)

  1. Emma is sensational in this movie! She is just so watchable…a bit like whatshername’s thighs! 🙂 I watched a little of the doco about PL Travers the other night on TV and I don’t think even Emma Thompson could have portrayed what a nasty piece of work she really was!
    Now, go see Judy Dench in Philomena and I guarantee a tear or two! Those nuns were just awful…

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