Directed by John Lee Hancock. Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley, Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, Jason Schwartzman. Disney.
Decent Films Ratings
|?Teens & Up|
Content advisory: Scenes of heavy drinking; disturbing family scenes; an attempted suicide; limited profanity and cursing.
From a National Catholic Register review
By Steven D. Greydanus
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. That’s almost enough to sell the picture by itself, isn’t it? Who but Hanks can one imagine in the role?
Hanks isn’t the spitting image of Disney: His face is a bit puffier, and Disney had a more prominent nose. Hanks is squintier, too, and tends to knit his brows, where Disney’s brows often levitated well above his eyes.
Yet Hanks’s genial, beloved public persona — the most trusted man in America, according to a rather head-scratching recent poll — may be the nearest analogy we have to Uncle Walt in his day. Disney was Mickey Mouse; Hanks was (and is) Pixar’s Woody.
At 57, Hanks is almost the right age to play Disney at 60, when he finally met Pamela L. Travers, the creator of Mary Poppins, whom Disney had been courting for two decades for film rights to her beloved heroine — unsuccessfully until then, since Travers very much did not want to see Mary Poppins become the sort of heroine that Disney would undoubtedly make her, and did.
And who but Emma Thompson could play P.L. Travers? Thompson is not only a children’s author in her own right, but lovingly adapted Christianna Brand’s stories of a magical nanny named Nurse Matilda as the Nanny McPhee movies. Nurse Matilda, or Nanny McPhee, had perhaps more in common with the stern literary Mary Poppins (“the very enemy of whimsy and sentiment,” Thompson’s Travers insists) than either had with the singing protagonist of Disney’s beloved musical.