Disney's Oscar hopeful finally had its world premiere today as it closed out the London Film Festival this week. One of the few remaining contenders to be seen (the others are American Hustle, The Monuments Men and The Wolf of Wall Street), the movie received a warm, if not ecstatic reception from critics, with especially high praise for stars Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks as P.L. Travers (the author of Mary Poppins) and Walt Disney himself, respectively. The film tells the story of Travers' two week clash with Walt Disney in 1961 over the film rights to her beloved children's classic. The respectful celebration of artistry and Hollywood itself is always something that's right up the Academy's alley, so I would expect this movie to get nominations for Actress, Screenplay, Supporting Actor (looks like Tom Hanks will get double nodded this year) and likely Picture as well. Director John Lee Hancock's apparently generic direction will prevent this from overtaking Gravity and 12 Years a Slave as the current frontrunners, though. The movie comes out Dec 13th in the U.S.
"In a part once mooted for Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson takes charge of the central role of the waspish P.L. Travers with an authority that makes you wonder how anyone else could ever have been considered." (Hollywood Reporter)
"If someone had to play Disney in a movie, a better candidate than Hanks, himself a gleaming icon of wholesome American entertainment, is hard to imagine. He captures all of his folksy charisma and canny powers of persuasion- at once father, confessor, and the shrewdest of businessmen." (Variety)
"It's funny, moving, and nicely captures the creative process in a way that some movies-about-movies struggle with. That said, it also feels a little disposable and some of that might be down to the bland, workmanlike direction from John Lee Hancock." (The Playlist)
"The movie itself becomes a source of real joy. Enlivened by work from Thompson that should attract awards attention, 'Saving Mr. Banks' manages to convey all this, while remaining a smart, witty entertainment." (The Telegraph)
Here's the trailer again: