Movie reviews: Saving Mr Banks & The Book Thief

In the past week I’ve been fortunate enough to watch two movies on the big screen… Outings to the movies is something that has been very lacking in my life since the arrival of kids and I really have missed it!

I watched two great films and they were both ones I thought you need to know about. Both very touching, quite emotional movies – I tend to choose these sorts over action, thriller, horror etc but neither of them is a comedy or rom com. I’d probably classify them as drama.

Here is a little review on each of them….

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When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ “Mary Poppins,” he made them a promise-one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, it tells the untold story behind the creation of one of the best loved movies for kids of all generations – Mary Poppins. Walt Disney and PL Travers, the author of the original books by the same name, are the stars played by Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson respectively. I always enjoy movies that are based on real-life events, especially ones I don’t know too much about, and this one was very interesting to watch. I loved following the story of the little Australian girl known as Ginty which weaved through the other storyline of Mrs Travers visit to Los Angeles where Disney is doing his best to convince her to give him the movie rights to her book. The successful British author is in no hurry to give up her beloved Mary Poppins for her to be changed into someone she hardly recognizes. And Mr Disney is desperate to recreate the magic of the pages into his brand of magic on screen! An interesting side note is that this is the first movie to be made about the legendary Disney himself!

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The title of the movie Saving Mr. Banks obviously refers to the gruff banker and father in the story of Mary Poppins but what you discover during this movie is that the tarnished father figure is in fact reflected in both the flawed fathers of Disney and Travers – eventually it is this commonality that brings them together to create something that would redeem the father figures in their own lives! The idea is that Mr. Banks must be saved in order to rescue their own memories of fathers who had hurt them deeply but who they still loved dearly! The movie’s main themes are those of fatherhood, family, forgiveness, perseverance, hard work and ultimately, overcoming the past. It was an emotional rollercoaster at times but really well acted and with a great message. I recommend it as a date night film or one to watch with a group of girlfriends.

Watch the trailer here:

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The Book Thief

Based on the beloved international bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel, an extraordinary and courageous young girl sent to live with a foster family in World War II Germany. She learns to read with encouragement from her new family and Max, a Jewish refugee who they are hiding under the stairs. For Liesel and Max, the power of words and imagination become the only escape from the tumultuous events happening around them. This film is a life-affirming story of survival and of the resilience of the human spirit.

 

The book that this movie is based on was one of my favourite reads in recent years. The Book Thief is beautifully written and very haunting – it’s definitely a book you don’t quickly forget. It was one we read as a bookclub a few years back so when I saw the poster for the film we knew it would have to be a bookclub outing to the movies!

 

 

 

The movie itself captures the spirit of the book, the actors are well cast and I especially loved the two child actors. The story is set during World War 2, and although the true horrors of the war are kept to a minimum (this is not Saving Private Ryan) the story is still sombre and serious in it’s telling. What is positive about the movie is seeing how true friendships and relationships blossom even during times of terrible circumstances and that, in fact, it is often during these difficult times that humanity is more evident! The power of books and words is also highlighted as this was during the Nazi implemented book burnings and censorship and Liesl, determined to learn how to read, steals one book from the pile to smuggle home with her. The main themes of the movie are the value of a life, friendship, love, honor, family and words. Director Brian Percival (who has previously worked on Downton Abbey) gives the film a steady, slow pace that will leave you experiencing each up and down along with the main characters and stay with you long after the lights have been turned up in the cinema!

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Watch the trailer here:

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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