Archive for January, 2014
I just saw Saving Mr. Banks and really enjoyed it. It has surprising depth, way more than a recounting of how Mary Poppins got made. This is the story of a man who couldn’t grow up – a Peter Pan, and the lasting effect it had on his daughter. Mr Banks was great at spinning a story but he couldn’t subdue the dreamer and the demons in him long enough to provide for his family. His wife obviously married for the ideal of love, against her family’s advice, and was trapped in a marriage with many children and a husband who told pretty stories but couldn’t stop drinking long enough to hold a job. Instead he made his daughter his confidante and he always shone in her eyes. Even as an adult she felt married to him.
This is a new theme in movies that we are seeing more and more of. The Hurt Locker has the same character who is heroic but unable to rise up and be the Warrior King that the woman in his life needs him to be. The Warrior King is willing to let parts of himself die in order to cross the distance between himself and another person. He is driven to preserve, protect and provide for the person he loves. Broken FLowers is another movie with this theme. I love that we are starting to recognize that you can’t go on being a hero forever. There are new frontiers to cross. Heroes can become Warrior Kings, and Warrior Kings can become Mentors. Each of these transformations makes an interesting story.
Mr. Banks did what often happens in real life. The cowardly thing. Rather than rise to the challenges life presents him with, he engages his daughter in a wife-like role for he longs to be adored and doesn’t want to face the disappointment of an adult woman. He makes her his confidant and the apple of his eye, ignoring the tension he creates between mother and daughter.
Saving Mr. Banks is about the universal human condition and how we have all been captured by its story. Walt Disney is the Warrior King because he keeps showing up and relentlessly driving towards his goal. He is not satisfied until he gets the job done. I believe his presence in the author’s life was a very liberating example for her.