‘Saving Mr. Banks’ tells ‘Poppins’ backstory with charm

Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson

Oh Saving Mr. Banks, I’ll be honest — you had me at “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

Critical standards tend to melt when put in proximity of that joyful song from Mary Poppins, which turns up about halfway through this new behind-the-scenes Disney production.

This amiable, somewhat whitewashed true story describes the way the already-kinglike Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) finally closed the deal with the author of Mary Poppins, the sourpuss British writer P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). For 20 years — no kidding — Travers resisted Disney’s offers to adapt her beloved literary character for a movie.

Saving Mr. Banks begins in 1961, with Travers journeying to Hollywood, still having not signed away the rights to her story.

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