There has been quite a lot of sniffing by some critics about 'Saving Mr. Banks', generally from the usual suspects, who for some reason seem to regard Walt Disney as the devil incarnate. I don't mind if people simply don't like the movie- tastes differ, wildly. But the reasons generally given for condemning it have struck me as being hypocritical or just plain silly. First of all, some have complained that it's not historically accurate. Oh, please. It makes no claim to be: it's based on a true story. If anyone can provide me with an example of a movie in recent memory which is "based on a true story" and is totally faithful to the facts, I'd be very surprised.
Also, may I point out that P.L. Travers was not exactly a victim here. She agreed to Disney's contract because she wanted all that filthy lucre. And she got it- millions of dollars worth. Her unhappiness with the deal stemmed from the fact that she wanted to have her cake and eat it, too. She wanted the profit without having to give up control of the product. Business- and life- doesn't work that way. You can't sell something, then dictate to the new owner what they can and can't do with it.
Anyone who has a favourite book- especially from childhood- will be always be conflicted about adaptations of that work. But I can think that L. Frank Baum's book,'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', is far superior to the Judy Garland movie without wanting to burn Samuel Goldwyn in effigy. I also wouldn't deny that the movie is charming, and has brought joy to generations of children- as well as profit to the people who produced it.
Hmm... I seem to have strayed some distance from my original point. Back on topic, I think that 'Saving Mr. Banks' should be judged on its own merits. I personally find it an entertaining and sometimes moving account of the making of 'Mary Poppins', and the people involved in that process. It isn't perfect, but it is well-crafted and well-meaning. It also never sacrifices good story telling on the altar of cold, hard fact, which in a work of fiction (sort of) is how it should be.