Saving Mr. Banks

January 25, 2014 at 11:12 pm 1 comment

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.


Entry filed under: Archetype theory, Film Summaries, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lorne  |  January 26, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Well done, Kim. I saw this Saving Mr Banks also and your take on the film and the “unlived life” of Mr Banks hits the mark. Here was a man who, in James Hollis’ terms failed to “show up” when summoned by life to be the best he can be. Fortunately, as you insightfully note, there IS someone who answers that call, in the form of Walt Disney. He too is a dreamer but he is also a doer, someone who sees the magic in another person and strives to bring that out (hence the “saving” in the title no doubt).
    Your thoughtfully written blog also had me reflecting on the link between shadow archetypes and addictive behaviours, and how the latter are treated. Mr Banks epitomizes a sad, almost cliched pattern, of tortured individuals (disproportionately male, btw) who choose to numb the pain of not “answering the call to serve” with drugs or alcohol. Your blog has me wondering how often the exploration of archetypal energies are use to help people address what lies beneath their numbing, avoidance patterns.
    Thanks for another engaging article. By astutely identifying the deeper meaning in Savings Mr Banks, you help us see beyond the simple, surface story about Mary Poppins.


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