There's something a little incestuous about a studio making a movie about one of its greatest box office triumphs. But Disney's backstage drama about how its whimsical 1964 kids' classic Mary Poppins came to be is a delight.
Chris Nashawaty - Entertainment Weekly
The best parts of "Saving Mr. Banks" offer an embellished, tidied-up but nonetheless reasonably authentic glimpse of the Disney entertainment machine at work.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Travers would have despised it. For the rest of us it's an entertaining, affecting, deftly acted saga, interspersed with illustrative flashbacks from Travers' childhood.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Even with Thompson's delectably dyspeptic portrayal of Travers, she'd be a difficult protagonist to root for, were it not for the back story of "Mary Poppins" that "Saving Mr. Banks" is really about.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
"Saving Mr. Banks" is extremely canny and often great fun, primarily in the scenes in which Travers locks horns with the Disney-ites.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
The slick but moving "Saving Mr. Banks" transcends its corporate pedigree to become a great Disney movie about making a Disney movie.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
"Saving Mr. Banks" wraps a seduction inside a seduction with enjoyable results. It's a Disney film in every sense of the term.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Beneath Banks' crass self-aggrandizement lies a pretty charming portrait of two overly proud people butting creative heads. Yes, charming. That's what Disney does, and it does it well enough to turn even this condescending pap into something palatable.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Just as Mary rescued the wilting Banks family, so Thompson saves the film. A spoonful of her medicine makes the sugar go down.
Anthony Lane - New Yorker
The sharper edges of the Disney/Travers relationship, well-documented by various sources, have been rounded off, but the actors suggest what they can, where they can.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Rest assured that, by the end, a little pixie dust will solve everything.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
"Saving Mr. Banks" is a shameless wad of corporate PR, a feel-good, self-serving Disney film about the making of a Disney film.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
The sap doesn't run too thick, although it does run, and the movie certainly has a patented Disney upbeat feel much of the time. It's more a spoonful of sugar than medicine for aging baby boomer's souls.
Tom Long - Detroit News
A good movie, buoyed by good performances from Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks and, almost as an afterthought, an especially affecting Colin Farrell.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
The screenplay, by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, seamlessly captures two different eras with overlapping story lines that never intrude or confuse.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
Somewhere, Uncle Walt is smiling.
Scott Foundas - Variety
"Saving Mr. Banks'' is ultimately much less about magic than making the sale, in more ways than one.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
Saving Mr. Banks is hard to beat as holiday entertainment. Endure the dull melodrama, and give thanks that the sugar in the rest of the film is doled out by the spoonful, not the shovelful.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Earmarked as a masterpiece, but it doesn't fully deliver on its promise.
Kate Erbland - Film.com
A sneakily effective work of manipulation that should charm family audiences through the holiday season and beyond.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
For a movie that's all about what a swell idea it was to adapt Mary Poppins for the screen, Saving Mr. Banks seems remarkably uninterested in what made the movie special.
Dana Stevens - Slate
The movie avoids commonplace traps; it never becomes maudlin and it doesn't transform Travers into a likeable elderly lady whose heart of gold is camouflaged by crotchetiness.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
An affecting if somewhat soft-soaped comedy drama, elevated by excellent performances.
Leslie Felperin - Hollywood Reporter
Just as Travers is eventually won over by her Hollywood adversaries, the strong sentimental pull of ''Saving Mr. Banks'' overwhelms, too.
Jake Coyle - Associated Press
The picture finally succeeds as the kind of fantasy that its two main characters consorted in, individually and, on one project, together.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
Thanks to Thompson and Hanks, this movie about the making of a movie hits the sweet spot. There's magic in it.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
This film works as its own lovingly rendered story.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
Travers hated what Disney did to her creation, and she would have hated what his studio has now done to her.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
The picture is eventually about the therapeutic limitations of art even while celebrating the very real effect it can have on people who need it.
It's a wonderful film that deserves your attention, and that you deserve to experience.
Beautifully ambitious and eagerly constructed, the success of Walt Disney Studios' homage to its heritage is anchored magnificently by the crowning work of Emma Thompson's career.
A familiar and very satisfying collision of art versus commerce or lowbrow, mainstream taste...versus highbrow sophistication.
Richard Knight - Windy City Times
... would have been better suited as a Disney special or an extra on a Blu-ray release of Mary Poppins rather than a vehicle for awards season.
Kevin A. Ranson - MovieCrypt.com
Emma Thompson's character comes off as the stodgy Fun Police, rather than an author trying to protect her work.
Genial, inconsequential, deeply odd but not quite "quirky."
This is Disney wielding its cultural influence as an emotional cattle prod.
Saving Mr Banks is an unexpected gem, a witty and warm-hearted celebration of two great storytellers that adroitly balances delicious culture-clash comedy with affecting biographical insights.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
There's great care to preserve the Disney brand with this film, which at times goes overboard with its reverence but never stoops to the point of being cheesy.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Mostra-se tao determinado a santificar Walt que, para isso, demoniza P.L. Travers, unindo-se aos recentes Hitchcock e A Garota em um genero que gosto de chamar de "cinema-tabloide".
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
It's a welcome surprise to find that Saving Mr. Banks is smart enough not to overdose on the sweet stuff.
Rebecca Barry - Flicks.co.nz
This is an utterly captivating origin story on how the all singing, all dancing, iconic technicolour musical (with bells on) -- Mary Poppins came to be.
Raam Tarat - Future Movies UK
Saving Mr. Banks depicts cinema as a perverse nexus of capitalism and psychoanalysis.
Jonathan Romney - Film Comment Magazine
This too is a Disney movie, of course, with little to say about artistic integrity but lots of commonsense encouragement to revisit Mary Poppins.
As with so many American films of late, the acting in Saving Mr Banks is superlative...Tom Hanks presents Walt Disney as a lovable extension of his TV persona while Emma Thompson is the stone-heart whose must inevitably soften.
Jim Schembri - 3AW
Saving Mr Banks is perfectly gauged to suit its subject matter - the light touch of Disney and the toughness of Travers, the slickness of Hollywood and the roughness of the Aussie outback.
Matt Neal - The Standard
Forget super. This bighearted and intelligent drama is supercalifragili. . . .you get the idea
- Us Weekly
Many have already raved about how this it distorts the truth about the relationship between 'Uncle Walt' Disney and PL Travers (AKA Helen Lyndon Goff), and yet it is enjoyable - as long as you accept that it's sheer fantasy.
David 'Mad Dog' Bradley - Rip It Up
Advertising that audiences have to pay to see.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
Saving Mr Banks is an enjoyable, likeable film.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
Mary Poppins didn't just float in on the wind to make an appearance on the big screen. Hers was a 20-year struggle, and that challenge is depicted in 'Saving Mr. Banks,' the story of Walt Disney and author P.L. Travers.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
To paraphrase Mary Poppins, "Just a spoonful of sugar helps revisionist history go down," and in a most delightful way!
Kam Williams - Baret News
While it hardly breaks new ground cinematically or truly challenges any prevailing notions about the cultural impact of Walt Disney, Saving Mr. Banks is nevertheless an entertaining portrait of conflicting artistic temperaments in action
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
The great irony underneath Hancock's handsomely produced vat of cinematic syrup is that it is precisely the kind of flapdoodle Travers would have frowned, moaned and tsk-tsked about.
Luke Buckmaster - Crikey
... offers a fascinating perspective on the making of an influential film that remains beloved today, and the chance to revisit that experience is worth several spoonfuls of sugar along the way.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Charming and informative
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Saving Mr. Banks could have been this years The King's Speech. Instead we have a "shoulda, woulda, coulda" situation, with just enough sugar in these wonderful performances to keep down the bitterness of Hancock's sloppy direction.
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
The most satisfying portions of Saving Mr. Banks occur when the movie adds pinches of salt to the spoonfuls of sugar making this medicine go down.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
"Banks" Short on Key Details
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
An unexpectedly tender film about Walt Disney's 20-year effort to bring Mary Poppins to the big screen.
Tom Glasson - Concrete Playground
Heavy handed and repetitive but surprisingly moving as Hollywood saves the day yet again
Cameron Williams - The Popcorn Junkie
Though about one of the most undeniably commercial movie companies in history, there's something enjoyably strange about Saving Mr. Banks, and its gallery of unusual characters.
Erin Free - FILMINK (Australia)
As far as family entertainment goes, there's very little to fault with this rather delightful and moving picture.
Ed Gibbs - The Sun Herald
The flashback scenes, of the author as a young girl in Australia and her alcoholic father (Colin Farrell), are too often just there to interject something familiar into the story.
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
A good movie about the making of the movie "Mary Poppins," but doesn't have the extra magic that you expect.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The whole thing leaves you with an appalling chill. It feels like a warning from Hollywood to the ambivalent creators of anything: Take the spoonful of sugar or we'll force-feed it to you.
Like Disney's 'Mary Poppins,' 'Saving Mr. Banks' is pure movie magic. It's the most captivating film of 2013 for me.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Thompson almost saves "Mr. Banks"
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
She (Travers) may have made Disney and his crew's lives a living hell, but that doesn't make her a bad person --- or "Saving Mr. Banks" a bad film.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
Director John Lee Hancock manages to induce great performances from his cast.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
After so many flashbacks it all comes together if you stay until after the end credits (don't leave early!), justifying Emma Thompson's award-quality performance as an extremely unreasonable, irritating woman.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
It does not mind raw emotion as long as it is delivered beneath a shimmery smooth veneer. Any and all medicines are accompanied by spoonfuls of sugar.
Jordan Hiller - Bangitout.com
A surprisingly apologetic celebration of Papa Walt and the herculean effort required to bring Mary Poppins to screen.
Sara Maria Vizcarrondo - Movies With Butter
Charming and surprisingly non-saccharine; but it's still the Disney monolith protecting its own.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
Reflects light from other sources but doesn't produce any of its own.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
I thought it was quite sweet.
David Stratton - At the Movies (Australia)
I actually found this film moving in a strange way.
Margaret Pomeranz - At the Movies (Australia)
The film is a little sluggish but Emma Thompson is a five-star treat as always.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
Such is the world of Disneyfication.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Corporatist propaganda of the highest order, as the Disney juggernaut congratulates itself on the half-century anniversary of "Mary Poppins."
Burl Burlingame - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
The most entertaining segments find the author contending with all the California dreamin'. ... But it's easier to believe Hanks saving Private Ryan than saving Mr. Banks.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
The deck is stacked, and the disingenuousness is profound, but director John Lee Hancock is good at saving his big schmaltz cards to play at the end.
Margot Harrison - Seven Days
It's every bit the charming confection you expect it to be, but it's also uncommonly and unexpectedly thoughtful about the troubles of the creative mind and the travails of the creative process. It's spoonfuls of salt that make this medicine go down.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
In many ways this is the ultimate Disney film and embodies everything the company sort of stands for, this is also its downfall. It is a brilliant piece of propaganda.
Michelle Alexandria - Eclipse Magazine
Hanks' Disney is a teddy bear; Thompson's Travers is a porcupine. They go together like apple pie and, oh, liver and onions. He lights up the charm...She refuses utterly to be charmed.
Steven D. Greydanus
Hanks doesn't have to work too hard to capture the man we want Walt Disney to have been. But it's Thompson who ties it all together.
Anders Wright - San Diego Union-Tribune
It's the chemistry between these two inner children that makes Saving Mr. Banks so special because Hanks and Thompson understand this is where the drama lies, in the hidden folds of adult fear, and they turn it into a cuddle toy of content.
Katherine Monk - Canada.com
No one with working eyes will be tricked into believing that Hanks is the spitting image of old Uncle Walt. But like the best actors, Hanks uses mannerisms and practiced vocal inflections to capture his subject's essence.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
The viewer should expect to see long stretches of Travers being unpleasant.
Mark R. Leeper - Mark Leeper's Reviews
The uplifting turn of the story likely is complete fiction, but it's heart-tugging, joyful fiction, lifted to the highest heights by a lovely song or two and Thompson's career-capping performance.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
"Saving Mr. Banks" vividly shows how the spark that ignites artistic expression can be struck from heartache, loss or even death.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
A smart, snappy, soulful look at how Mary Poppins got Disneyfied, and the redemptive power of story for both teller and listener.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
What a predictable waste. Still, anything to sell those 50th anniversary Blu-rays, right?
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
It reminds us that every movie, book or song we every loved once belonged to just one person, who was bold enough to share it with the rest of the world. This movie made me grateful for all of them.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
two films warring with each other and leaving the audience as its casualty.
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
The movie ironically but, perhaps, indirectly, points out that Walt Disney believed his own hype. In contrast to Travers stark view of the real world, Disney looked at the world through animated rose-colored glasses.
Jonathan W. Hickman - Daily Film Fix
An oppressively sentimental picture marrying simplistic personality-clash comedy to a thin Psych 101 character arc.
John Serba - MLive.com
Pencil Thompson in now for an Oscar nomination, and maybe a win, and prepare to leave the theater humming the iconic songs.
Gail Pennington - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
It's a crowd-pleaser of a film that features an iconic performance from Emma Thompson. This is a perfect film to see over the holidays. Bring the whole family!
Austin Kennedy - Film Geek Central
Saving Mr. Banks is a whimsical and charming film that seizes hold of your childhood. The historical comedic drama tightly clutches on to the magic of what you grew up with and never lets it go. It's the cinematic equivalent of a heart of gold.
Chris Sawin - Examiner.com
Saving Mr Banks is a merciless film. It hits you with every sentimental low blow it can think of. Then it pounds you again. And when you're down, it jumps on you.
David Thomson - The New Republic
Emma Thompson glows so brightly in Saving Mr. Banks, even when her face darkens in another scowl, that she eclipses the other elements of this agreeable but unambitious film.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
If you can enjoy this as a fictional gloss on the real story, it is quite entertaining.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Travers' legitimate concerns are presented as the killjoy grinching of a dried-up prig who just needs a good you-know-what, with Uncle Walt -- or rather, Walt Disney Inc. -- as just the one to give it to her, metaphorically speaking.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
What this movie makes clear is that "Mary Poppins" wouldn't be the enduring classic it is without both of these people fighting loudly for what they believed in.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Disney is second banana to Thompson's strong-willed and defensive Travers.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Though it embraces a host of cliches and tugs all too insistently at the heartstrings...viewers should respond with affection to this slickly manipulative crowd-pleaser.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The project is well-cast and sharply assembled. But like a lot of recent Disney projects, it's more professional than inspiring.
Jon Niccum - Kansas City Star
It's a hogwash justification for the Disney philosophy of filmmaking, but as delivered by the consummate pro Hanks, you find yourself halfway believing it.
Steve Davis - Austin Chronicle
At its best, Saving Mr. Banks is classic Disney, if not quite a Disney classic.
Joe Gross - Austin American-Statesman
Most people will come away from Saving Mr. Banks feeling like they just sat through a feature-length ad for the magic of Walt Disney, with P.L. Travers' life tacked on as an afterthought.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
Practically perfect in every way.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Blatant pro-Disney corporate propaganda, but on some level I fell for it.
Stephen Silver - EntertainmentTell
At least when Disney butchered Travers' book, he created a classic film in the process; Saving Mr. Banks just makes his company look like sore winners.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
The view is blocked by repetitive pathos and overlength, missing the true electricity generated by the actors and the headstrong characters they're beautifully portraying.
Brian Orndorf - Blu-ray.com
... addresses themes of redemption and the importance of imagination that perhaps didn't save the real Mrs. P.L. Travers, but the millions who will watch Emma Thompson embody her can come away ready to forgive themselves
Matt Kelemen - AspectRatio.us
By neatly assembling an uplifting weepie out of a few choice lies, it’s almost as pleasant a fantasy as Mary Poppins itself.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
Saving Mr. Banks is a confection and should be viewed as such. In that regard, it works admirably, which is all you can reasonably ask.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
The sweetest and most magical film of the year.
Cameron Meier - Orlando Weekly
This brew of story elements as cooked up by screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith teaches us something about the obstacles between literature and movie making.
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Sweet peek behind Poppins story, with very dark moments.
S. Jhoanna Robledo - Common Sense Media
A story behind a story behind a story that will strike a sentimental chord with anyone who remembers Disney's 1964 hit about a certain singing, flying British nanny.
Neil Pond - American Profile
One can certainly object to the neat, three-act structure that this screen story shoehorns reality into, while pointing out that if the thing hooks you emotionally, it simply doesn't matter.
Luke Y. Thompson
Oscar-bait, through and through.
Saving Mr. Banks will warm your heart faster than you can say Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
Scott A. Mantz - Access Hollywood
I can't think of a better holiday film that you'll be able to enjoy with your families.
Danny Minton - Fort Bend Sun
A funny, bittersweet account of how 'Mary Poppins' finally came to the big screen after 20 years of fruitless negotiations, with Emma Thompson turning in an Oscar-worthy performance as author P.L. Travers.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
An audience-pleasing, if incomplete look behind the Walt Disney empire's curtain.
Jeffrey Lyles - Lyles' Movie Files
Most likely, [P. L.] Travers would find this screen version of her life to be obvious and heavy handed.
Kent Turner - Film-Forward.com
Take a tissue and be prepared for a heartfelt experience
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Thompson gives one of the best performances of the year, showing us the insecurity and humanity and wit of a woman who is far more complex than she wishes to appear.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
Whether or not Saving Mr. Banks hews closely to the facts (which it only does to a point), it certainly provides a satisfying story arc that reinforces the idea that personal works of art resonate most highly with audiences.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Saving Mr. Banks makes you want to go back and revisit Mary Poppins, and that in itself is the highest compliment one can pay the film.
Bill Clark - FromTheBalcony
A desperately Oscar-hungry contrivance whose only hope lies with the terrific Thompson.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
A magical experience, this well-written comedy will delight and entertain audiences everywhere.
John Hanlon - John Hanlon Reviews
An intoxicating kiddie cocktail for young-at-heart adults ...
Susan Wloszczyna - RogerEbert.com
Get ready for a movie about the magic, heartbreak and frustration of making a movie, along with some of the best acting performances of the year.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
...an appealing premise that's employed to erratic yet often engrossing effect by filmmaker Hancock...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
There's plenty in the film that is worthy of mistrust, but Saving Mr. Banks ... offers a valuable look inside the difficulties of the collaborative creative process.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Oh, I get it, haha, this is some kind of joke, right?
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
An engaging film that sugarcoats Disney history as only Disney itself can. Once you get past the historical fallacies, you can enjoy the artisanship on display.
Wesley Lovell - Cinema Sight
A charming and heartwarming piece of entertainment, highlighted by a handful of superior performances.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
It's not supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, but it sure is fun.
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
Saving Mr. Banks manages to deconstruct, and then reconstruct, an iconic character and film in a way that is at once truthful and mature but also moving and reverent.
Kofi Outlaw - ScreenRant
Saving Mr. Banks is a resonant but hugely problematic film - a prestigious look at the embattled history of the production written by those who prevailed, while incredulously suggesting that everybody involved won.
Todd Gilchrist - Comic Book Resources
The delight here is the performance of Emma Thompson, who portrays the a taskmaster on the page with pursed lips in perpetual scowl, yes, but also on the verge of melting into what passes, for her, for warmth.
Nathalie Atkinson - National Post
Thompson is very good at playing imperious, and she even manages an unexpected trace of flirtiness in a few offhanded moments with Hanks.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
As much as the script strains to connect Travers' past with her present, Saving Mr. Banks instead resembles two very different movies shoved together.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
I found it interminable.
Created by Disney, lauding Walt Disney, about the creation of a Disney classic, it has much the same effect as a trip to Disneyland: It's a heartwarming, sweet, kind, and fantastical ride that works best if you never wonder what's behind the curtain.
Rebecca Cusey - Patheos
It's surprising, given the description of this movie -- negotiations over book rights, a script conference, etc. -- how involving and emotionally moving it really is.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
It's Thompson who shines the brightest as the cantankerous control freak author. (Full Content Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
A profoundly confused bit of corporate propaganda.
Robert Levin - amNewYork
It may have "heartwarming holiday fare" all but engraved above its title, but it's entertainingly crafted holiday fare, and should warm the hearts of all but the grimmest cynics.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
Sadly, audiences have to swallow more than a spoonful of sugar to digest this blatantly phony movie.
Phil Hall - Film Threat
"Saving Mr. Banks" is a positively charming film filled with heart and a few good laughs along the way. We all know how this venture eventually turned out, but it's fascinating to see just how difficult it was to get there.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
A respectful glimpse into the complicated but virtuous person P.L. Travers was, as a woman and an artist. She may have been hard to please, but she likely would have approved of this warmly felt biopic.
It does skew far darker than I ever could have hoped for, and in that way ends up becoming something halfway profound.
The trailer for Saving Mr. Banks resembles the film only slightly more than The Shining resembles that fake trailer for the film that made the rounds 10 or so years ago.
David Medsker - Bullz-Eye.com
Nobody plays huffy like Thompson, who seems to sniff with her entire body; she's wonderfully funny against Hanks' effusive Disney.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
Emma Thompson, all frown lines and tight perm, is terrific as Travers, cutting and brusque on the outside, vulnerable to those who make the effort to look deeper.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Like the Mary Poppins film Disney would eventually serve up, Saving Mr. Banks is an affable, enjoyable spoonful of sugar that sweetens into palatability the sinus-clearing bite of the books - and the implacable iron lady who wrote them.
Ella Taylor - NPR
What makes "Saving Mr. Banks" work is Thompson in a wonderful, nuanced performance that walks a fine line between villain and heroine.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
It's enthralling fun to watch Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) focus his charm and instinct on flinty British novelist P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) as he campaigns to film her Mary Poppins.
Michael Sragow - Orange County Register
[A] crowd-pleasing comic drama.
If "Saving Mr. Banks" were 100 percent false and yet felt true, that would be fine. But this has the self-conscious whiff, if not of mendacity, then of public relations.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
While Saving Mr. Banks may be must-see viewing for Mary Poppins fans, others won't find anything magical about it.
Gets a lot of mileage from Thompson's full commitment to Travers' testiness.
Matt Pais - RedEye
Emma Thompson's brilliant performance, a story that captures the joy and heartache of creation, the nostalgia of the Sherman brothers' classic songs, combined with Thomas Newman's bittersweet original score, make this a sweetheart of a picture.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
P.L. Travers would have hated this charming revisionist tearjerker, but then she didn't think her Mary Poppins should have been a musical.
Chris Barsanti - PopMatters
The irony of Saving Mr. Banks is that it takes this true story of Hollywood conflict, of artistic integrity pitted against studio moxie, and gives it the same warm-and-fuzzy treatment the company gave Poppins.
A.A. Dowd - AV Club
The tagline reads, 'Where her book ended, the real story began.' The condescension only gets worse when you watch the actual film.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
Basically, if you were hoping this docudrama would give a thorough insight into the creation of the movie musical Mary Poppins, you will be sorely disappointed.
Saving Mr. Banks uses a spoonful of sugar to force down this new history of Disney and 'Mary Poppins', but a better film would have needed just a pinch.
Sam Woolf - We Got This Covered
It would all seem horribly manipulative and distasteful if Saving Mr. Banks weren't buoyed by a strong sense of nostalgia and, yes, a good bit of Disney Magic(TM).
Genevieve Koski - The Dissolve
Even if this occasionally clunky "making of" picture does soften a lot of ragged edges, the trademark Disney charm's gonna getcha.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Entertaining story of the tenderizing of a critical and persnickety writer.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
One of the best pictures of the year
Saving Mr. Banks turns Travers's tense collaboration with Walt and his team of Imagineers into -- naturally -- a schmaltzy journey of closure, climaxing in a teary screening of the finished musical.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
Intriguing behind-the-scenes drama of how in 1961 "Mary Poppins" was filmed by Walt Disney and released in 1964.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
In a Hollywood where men still pen 85% of all films, there's something sour in a movie that roots against a woman who asserted her artistic control by asking to be a co-screenwriter.
Amy Nicholson - L.A. Weekly
Fetchingly produced, highly diverting inside look at the making of Mary Poppins nonetheless suffers from paucity in the script department.
David Noh - Film Journal International
Even if this comes off like an ad for Disney, it's convincing and contains some of Disney's patented magic -- especially with a predictable, yet effective, emotional ending.
Tony Hicks - San Jose Mercury News
Will leave you wet-eyed and appreciative for it. It's a personal story that proves to be more than a little universal.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Saving Mr. Banks is a joyful tale made all the better by a winning cast especially the fantastic supporting performance from Colin Farrell.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Despite its likable sheen, breezy style and occasional emotional wallop, "Saving Mr. Banks" makes the mistake of minimizing, as opposed to illuminating, the creative process.
Tim Grierson - Paste Magazine
Irresistibly enchanting, high-spirited fun....
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
The efforts of Walt Disney to get the author of "Mary Poppins" to sign movie rights are almost as intriguing as the books themselves.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
It's not the narrative of how something good and pure was turned into pap. It's a reminder that art means something to its makers... a delightful, magical, sometimes splendiferous celebration of imagination
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
'Saving Mr. Banks' is an awful film, perhaps an evil one. But it will make a great grad school paper.
Matt Prigge - Metro
Thompson is so delightfully acerbic and convincing that she makes Saving Mr. Banks safe for people who find Disney films too saccharine. Not adventurous, but entertaining.
Caryn James - James on screenS
This is a good looking film with strong performances and a rich musical score by Thomas Newman ('Skyfall'). but there are certain narrative and structural problems that hold it back.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
A tale of memory and redemption that does little to linger in the mind and even less to decry P.L. Travers's claim that Disney turns everything it touches into schmaltz.
Nick McCarthy - Slant Magazine
A fun and often poignant film but how much do you trust this story?
Kirk Honeycutt - honeycuttshollywood.com
The end result, though well-mounted and featuring knock-the-soot-out-of-your-chimney performances from Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as the movie mogul, feels more like a Disney theme park version of events than the real story.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
A lovely, sentimental and quietly insightful account of the making of Mary Poppins that traces the roots of PL Travers's most famous creation to the author's personal paternal past.
Mark Kermode - Observer [UK]
One might say the ultimate irony in the clash of cultures and approaches to storytelling exemplified by P.L Travers and Walt Disney's tussle over Mary Poppins, is the Disneyification of the dispute: Uncle Walt's empire enjoying the last word.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
Emma Thompson's barbs sprinkle the underlying pathos with great humour, while Hanks ( ... ) again shows his wide-ranging brilliance despite carrying Hollywood's greatest mogul on his shoulders.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
It's a slow-moving but lightly charming story that brings back memories of the delightful Julie Andrews classic movie.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Saving Mr Banks might not be entirely accurate, but it is wholly engaging.
- Daily Mail [UK]
Hanks and Thompson are a delight, Farrell gives one of his best performances, and there are some lovely moments as we observe the creation of the musical, especially when we hear the tunes.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
An enjoyable, occasionally laughable, and sometimes moving drama, with Emma Thompson on fine brittle form as the quintessentially English Australian who gave the world its most famous nanny.
Catherine Bray - Film4
One of the big shocks of 2013: the Mary Poppins origin story is unspeakably lovely.
David Jenkins - Little White Lies
Warm, heartening and often rather splendid, there's only one word for it. Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious...
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
The film is such unashamed propaganda, it may as well have been titled Triumph of the Walt.
Donald Clarke - Irish Times
In the end Saving Mr Banks, pitched at the family market for the festive season, is nothing but a big corporation boasting about its own marvellousness.
David Sexton - This is London
The sugar-to-medicine ratio is fixed at around 15 parts to one, but there's nothing wrong with true sweetness.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
It proves what we always suspected. Art and entertainment were born to be at loggerheads. But sometimes the best art and best entertainment come from the battles fought first, with each other, to survive.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Emma Thompson is terrific as the no-nonsense raspish writer who tongue-lashes the great and good. It is easy to forget that as well as actor, writer and all round good egg, Thompson is also a very accomplished comedienne.
Brian Henry Martin - UTV
Utterly charming, frequently funny and powerfully emotional comedy-drama with a most delightful script, spit-spot-on production design work and wondrous, award-worthy performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
The whole thing goes down with a few bucketloads of sugar. What keeps it from becoming sticky schmaltz is Emma Thompson, who plays Travers with wit and warmth.
Cath Clarke - Time Out
This sweet, funny and superbly-acted drama really goes down in a most delightful way.
Andy Lea - Daily Star
While you could scoff at the gaps in historical truthfulness and excessively string-tugging score, the picture eventually overcomes its own manipulativeness and sentiment with a great collective cast and sheer cumulative effect.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
This is not a simple story of an uptight English woman induced to loosen up by those freedom-lovin' Yanks, but a delicate and brilliantly acted story of overcoming the past to embrace an uncertain future.
Helen OHara - Empire Magazine
A tailor-made Hollywood crowd-pleaser, "Saving Mr. Banks" is as much fantasy as fact in the telling of Walt Disney's tenacious efforts to transform "Mary Poppins" into a movie, with necessary approval from the popular children's book author.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Hanks takes to Walt like a pair of cosy slippers, but it's Thompson who adds layers to a classy but predictable slice of Disney schmaltz.
Paul M. Bradshaw - Total Film
In the best tradition of Disney, it is a film to make you laugh and cry.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Peerless performances stayed with solid cinematography, a stirring score, and especially dishy dialogue, make Saving Mr. Banks is a solid biopic.
Staci Layne Wilson - SheKnows Network
The engaging performances and story mean that you'd have to have a heart of stone not to be swept up in it.
Gail Tolley - The List
When the big emotional breakthrough happens at freaking Disneyland I have to get off the ride.
Jordan Hoffman - ScreenCrush
Featuring a stellar cast led by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, Saving Mr. Banks is a heartfelt ode to the pain of creation.
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
Disney's own Entourage
Fred Topel - CraveOnline
What could have merely been a studio's love letter to itself winds up being a meditation on the power that art has for artists as a way to exorcise the past.
One senses that Disney would have liked it more than Travers would, but given how Mary Poppins turned out, that's perhaps the most appropriate outcome you could ask for.
Oliver Lyttelton - The Playlist
The film brims with thoughtful and engaging performances and is punctuated with smart dashes of music guaranteed to make any audience want to track down the original film.
Mark Adams - Screen International
An enormous spoonful of sugar and the tiniest bit of medicine: it all goes down, just about.
Lee Hancock has provided a worthy homage to Mary Poppins, in a picture that, though somewhat fluffy, is exactly what'd you hope such a film to be.
Stefan Pape - HeyUGuys
Smart, witty entertainment. Job done. Spit spot.
David Gritten - Daily Telegraph
It's easy to imagine the real Helen Lyndon Goff balking at the sentimental touches, but you know what they say about a spoonful of sugar...
Stella Papamichael - Digital Spy