Saving Mr Banks (PG)

Film

Biopic

El sueño de Walt

Time Out rating:

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Time Out says

Tue Nov 26 2013

Emma Thompson gives good battleaxe. She is on Oscar-winning form in ‘Saving Mr Banks’, playing ‘Mary Poppins’ author Pamela Travers as a cross between Jeremy Paxman and Maggie Smith in ‘Downton Abbey’. On a plane from London to Los Angeles, she peers down her spectacles at a toddler, lips pinched: ‘Will the child be a nuisance? It is an 11-hour flight.’ Mrs T is on her way to lock horns with Walt Disney (Tom Hanks), who has been courting her for the film rights to her beloved Mary Poppins for 20 years. Flat broke, she can’t say no, but Disney stands for everything she hates: ‘I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons.’

You have to feel a bit sorry for Travers. This a Disney film, so Uncle Walt gets an easy ride, twinkly and kind – with no sign of the controlling, darkly driven side of the man. It’s Travers who gets lumbered with the issues – daddy issues. Flashbacks (a few too many) to her chaotic childhood in Australia explain why she’s a stickler for rules. Colin Farrell (who also twinkles, but not half as much as Hanks), plays her alcoholic father – a dreamer full of tall tales to cast spells on little girls, but not enough sense to hold down a job. Like the Banks family in ‘Mary Poppins’, this lot are in need of a firm hand and a stiff broom. And here we get a glimpse of the inspiration for ‘Mary Poppins’, when Travers’s aunt Ellie (Rachel Griffiths) sweeps into the house with a carpet bag.

Back in LA, Jason Schwartzman and BJ Novak offer a cute double act as the ‘Mary Poppins’ songwriters, who hide their draft of ‘Supercalifragilistic’ from Travers’s prying eyes. The whole thing goes down with a few bucketloads of sugar. What keeps it from becoming sticky schmaltz is Thompson, who plays Travers with wit and warmth, adding a spoonful of spoilt child to help the battleaxe go down. Think of ‘Saving Mr Banks’ as a welcome-to-Christmas movie. A little too sugary, but in keeping with the season.

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Release details

Rated:

PG

UK release:

Fri Nov 29, 2013

Duration:

125 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.7 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:29
  • 4 star:7
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|38
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The Man on the Street

Bit late to it but watched 'Saving Mr Banks', this evening. So much to enjoy in this background story of why author PL Travers was resistant to much of Walt Disney's proposed and ultimate film interpretation of her book, Mary Poppins. Yes, it's a touch sentimental and apparently not wholly accurate, but for those who've grown up with the magic of the Mary Poppins film, know the songs inside out, can quote chunks of dialogue at any given moment (couldn't possibly include me), suggest that if you haven't already - get onto it, spit-spot.

Robert

A very well made film that is also very well acted by the two main characters - Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. A little too much interpretation of Mrs Travers, after all her attitude to Americans and modern life at the time (e.g. cartoons and the superficiality of Americans) could just as well be a reflection of her generation's attitude to both, rather than the result of some psychological torment, but that is a small cavil for a film that was very enjoyable and engrossing. Having seen some howlers like Blue is the warmest colour and the Great Beauty recently, it is nice to be able to give five stars.

Robert

A very well made film that is also very well acted by the two main characters - Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. A little too much interpretation of Mrs Travers, after all her attitude to Americans and modern life at the time (e.g. cartoons and the superficiality of Americans) could just as well be a reflection of her generation's attitude to both, rather than the result of some psychological torment, but that is a small cavil for a film that was very enjoyable and engrossing. Having seen some howlers like Blue is the warmest colour and the Great Beauty recently, it is nice to be able to give five stars.

chris

its was quite good , thought some of emma thompsons acting a bit hammy . enjoyed tom hanks.

David Stuart

The innocent delights of a Disney movie has been a constant for generations and Saving Mr Banks delivered simple but classic Disney cinematic pleasure. The film combines two family standards Mary Poppins and brand Disney which is bound to please all the generations. Tom Hanks delivers an avuncular Walt Disney and everyone’s favourite posh aunt Emma Thompson plays the self righteous English spinster to a T. The film blended the perfect ingredients of familiarity and sentimentality to make this a pleasant night in front of the huge screen at Cineworld Haymarket.

Luisa

This has been one of the best biopics I've ever seen. Emma Thompson gives one of her best performances as the grumpy P.L. Travers. She totally steals the show, even making Tom Hanks a mere supporting actor. Paul Giamatti is superb too and is part of the most emotive scenes in the movie. It made me laugh and cry at the same time. Will highly recommend it!

Paul

An interminably long film that metronomes tediously between a Little House On The Prairie that will have you shouting 'enough already, we get the point' and Emma staring out of the window so she can dreamily drift in and out of endless memories of Daddy, my Daddy. Insufficient Poppins music to cheer you up to keep you going through the next flashback. Basically two films mashed together with lazy editing, but not enough to cause emotional upset

Juan Carlos

The review pretty much nails the film. Hank and Farrell are good and Thompson is excellent. A film to make you cry and think as the film slowly peels away the layers of just what the book and the film were all about. From a hardened cynic like me it made me cry a couple of times. Like Philomena and excellent film with a superb female lead role. A good four star film.

David Merritt

In all honesty I began watching this film not knowing anything about the storyline nor that Emma Thompson had been cast nor whether or not I would enjoy it. I vaguely remembered a trailer I saw a while ago and recalling Tom Hanks featured I thought why not, what else have I got to do on a Monday evening after work!! The Monday before I had seen Captain Philips and being a bit of a Tom Hanks fan I decided that Saving Mr Banks wouldn't let me down. Wow, fantastic movie, huge laughs from Emma Thompson (and some tears), brilliant cinematic photography in Australia and a great performance by Tom Hanks (well, I would say that, wouldn't I). If you're not too bothered about seeing this film, give it a go. I am so glad I did and I'd happily pay to see it again. If you don't want to watch it, go see it anyway, I bet you'll laugh at least once. If you want to see it, do, you're already sold, and rightfully so!!

David Merritt

In all honesty I began watching this film not knowing anything about the storyline nor that Emma Thompson had been cast nor whether or not I would enjoy it. I vaguely remembered a trailer I saw a while ago and recalling Tom Hanks featured I thought why not, what else have I got to do on a Monday evening after work!! The Monday before I had seen Captain Philips and being a bit of a Tom Hanks fan I decided that Saving Mr Banks wouldn't let me down. Wow, fantastic movie, huge laughs from Emma Thompson (and some tears), brilliant cinematic photography in Australia and a great performance by Tom Hanks (well, I would say that, wouldn't I). If you're not too bothered about seeing this film, give it a go. I am so glad I did and I'd happily pay to see it again. If you don't want to watch it, go see it anyway, I bet you'll laugh at least once. If you want to see it, do, you're already sold, and rightfully so!!

Robert Rand

The film follows the attempt by Walt Disney to purchase the rights to produce the film of Mary Poppins from the author of the book Pamela Travers. Disney had promised his daughters that he would produce a film of their favourite book, 20 years previous to where it starts in 1961. The film follows two timelines. One is Pamela Travers’ childhood growing up in an isolated house in arid Queensland, Australia. You find her idolising her father, who encourages her imagination to flourish. The father played by Colin Farrell is good-looking, charismatic and doting on his children. However, this hero worship is found floundering as her father’s alcoholism, bad health and inability to hold down a job in the local bank develops. The other timeline finds Mrs Travers settled in London in 1961, but with funds running out, her plush Chelsea home is under threat. She is reminded by her agent that her royalties from her original books are drying up and the only way she can keep her house is by fronting up to the Disney proposal of her book being made into a film, which she has avoided for the last 20 years. Emma Thompson plays the lead role of Pamela Travers, who arrives in California as a tea drinking, handbag carrying, Englishwoman. She fires out putdowns like an infant with a cap gun, looking down her nose in a derisory fashion. She really does rally with the perceived pomposity and snobbishness of the British as she picked up on the American enthusiasm, consumerism, gushing politeness, service, grammar and penchant for sugary foods. Was it just me or was there a healthy dose of Margaret Thatcher in Thompson’s portrayal? Hanks’s Disney is on the other hand, good humoured, personable and warmth personified. The movie is how these two personalities as flag bearers of their national cultures intertwine. Is the American enthusiasm for life, often scorned upon by their trans-Atlantic cousins a false, a natural enthusiasm for life and risk taking? Is the English stereotype of stern reservation a natural defence against eventual disappointment? It certainly seems to be the case that the Disney happiness does eventually start to seep into Travers’s negativity. However, where would Disney be without the stories from the Old World? Their output at that time certainly is dominated by Kipling’s Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. The film explores these contrasts and the influence on family. On the exterior this film could be described as a feel-good story, but you don’t have to think about it much to explore darker thoughts. This film is sure to be talked about in terms of awards, not only in terms of the lead cast but also in the direction, production and cinematography. I thoroughly recommend it.

Robert Rand

The film follows the attempt by Walt Disney to purchase the rights to produce the film of Mary Poppins from the author of the book Pamela Travers. Disney had promised his daughters that he would produce a film of their favourite book, 20 years previous to where it starts in 1961. The film follows two timelines. One is Pamela Travers’ childhood growing up in an isolated house in arid Queensland, Australia. You find her idolising her father, who encourages her imagination to flourish. The father played by Colin Farrell is good-looking, charismatic and doting on his children. However, this hero worship is found floundering as her father’s alcoholism, bad health and inability to hold down a job in the local bank develops. The other timeline finds Mrs Travers settled in London in 1961, but with funds running out, her plush Chelsea home is under threat. She is reminded by her agent that her royalties from her original books are drying up and the only way she can keep her house is by fronting up to the Disney proposal of her book being made into a film, which she has avoided for the last 20 years. Emma Thompson plays the lead role of Pamela Travers, who arrives in California as a tea drinking, handbag carrying, Englishwoman. She fires out putdowns like an infant with a cap gun, looking down her nose in a derisory fashion. She really does rally with the perceived pomposity and snobbishness of the British as she picked up on the American enthusiasm, consumerism, gushing politeness, service, grammar and penchant for sugary foods. Was it just me or was there a healthy dose of Margaret Thatcher in Thompson’s portrayal? Hanks’s Disney is on the other hand, good humoured, personable and warmth personified. The movie is how these two personalities as flag bearers of their national cultures intertwine. Is the American enthusiasm for life, often scorned upon by their trans-Atlantic cousins a false, a natural enthusiasm for life and risk taking? Is the English stereotype of stern reservation a natural defence against eventual disappointment? It certainly seems to be the case that the Disney happiness does eventually start to seep into Travers’s negativity. However, where would Disney be without the stories from the Old World? Their output at that time certainly is dominated by Kipling’s Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. The film explores these contrasts and the influence on family. On the exterior this film could be described as a feel-good story, but you don’t have to think about it much to explore darker thoughts. This film is sure to be talked about in terms of awards, not only in terms of the lead cast but also in the direction, production and cinematography. I thoroughly recommend it.

Matthew Doyle

A performance by Emma Thompson that left me wanting more. She inhabits the character and brings Mrs Travers to life. I challenge anyone who see this movie not to a. feel an emotional pang and b. no go running for a copy of Mary Poppins to either read or watch.

Matthew Doyle

A performance by Emma Thompson that left me wanting more. She inhabits the character and brings Mrs Travers to life. I challenge anyone who see this movie not to a. feel an emotional pang and b. no go running for a copy of Mary Poppins to either read or watch.

Kathryn

I laughed. I cried. I reminisced about the wonderful story of Mary Poppins and had to go home and re-watch the movie that very night. Fantastic movie supported by a brilliant cast.

Kathryn

I laughed. I cried. I reminisced about the wonderful story of Mary Poppins and had to go home and re-watch the movie that very night. Fantastic movie supported by a brilliant cast.

John Leaver

Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining and moving film telling the true story of Walt Disney's persuit of the filming rights for Mary Poppins from the author of the book Mrs Travers. The story is told with flashbacks to Mrs Travers childhood and some of the largely traumatic events that inspired her famous characters. It is a film with great lead performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, with fantastic support particularly from Paul Giamatti. The story of Mary Poppins becomes even more dear to the viewer as Mrs.Travers fights for her characters, subsequently re-living some of her tragic childhood in the process. It would be nice to know more about how much of the story is true but as you're wiping away the tears at the end, it's well worth sticking around until the end of credits to get a taste of the real Mrs Travers from the out-takes.

John Leaver

Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining and moving film telling the true story of Walt Disney's persuit of the filming rights for Mary Poppins from the author of the book Mrs Travers. The story is told with flashbacks to Mrs Travers childhood and some of the largely traumatic events that inspired her famous characters. It is a film with great lead performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, with fantastic support particularly from Paul Giamatti. The story of Mary Poppins becomes even more dear to the viewer as Mrs.Travers fights for her characters, subsequently re-living some of her tragic childhood in the process. It would be nice to know more about how much of the story is true but as you're wiping away the tears at the end, it's well worth sticking around until the end of credits to get a taste of the real Mrs Travers from the out-takes.

Ritchie

I have to be honest here, I had no idea what so ever what the film was about, my free time in London is precious and I wanted to ignore all the adverts and just go and see something for the sake of taking some "Time out" I didnt want to have any pre concieved ideas. All I can say is, my girlfriend had a tear in her eye and I was holding the odd one back myself! I thouroughly enjoyed the film, the story was refreshiing as it came from a different angle to the usual Mary Poppins hype. A must for any one who wants to escape for a little.

Zoe McCarthy

Truly heartwarming gem of a film, English stoicism comes face to face with sugar coated Americanism, telling the true story of Travers' long awaited journey to LA to meet Walt Disney. Will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, understanding the tragic inspiration behind Mary Poppins. Make sure to stick around through the end credits to hear an excerpt of the actual conversations between Travers and the Americans!

Zoe McCarthy

Truly heartwarming gem of a film, English stoicism comes face to face with sugar coated Americanism, telling the true story of Travers' long awaited journey to LA to meet Walt Disney. Will make you laugh and cry in equal measure, understanding the tragic inspiration behind Mary Poppins. Make sure to stick around through the end credits to hear an excerpt of the actual conversations between Travers and the Americans!

Lizzie Barclay

I think we all learnt that Emma Thompson could really act in 2003. We’re reminded every year at Christmas when Love Actually comes on. The scene where she’s given the CD gets me every time. Ten years on, she shows surprisingly similar moments in Saving Mr Banks. Good old fashioned British stoicism is obviously her forte, and she carries the film fantastically as Mrs Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. This film simultaneously tells two stories. Walt Disney’s wooing of Mrs Travers in order to obtain the movie rights for her famous book; and Mrs Travers’ rocky childhood in Australia. The juxtaposition of the two is clever. Through the eyes of Mrs Travers as a child, we see what influenced her iconic story. Mary Poppins fans like me will enjoy spotting the references to the Disney film throughout. The obvious ones include that parrot umbrella, an unsuccessful trip to the bank and, of course, the musical score. Those who are less familiar with Mary Poppins (what on earth did you watch on sick days from school?) won’t miss out too much. After all, the film touches on some serious and thought-provoking themes - parenthood, alcoholism, suicide even. I cried twice, in fact. But it also explores a fundamentally fun one: the ultimate clash between stiff upper-lipped Britishness and all singing, all dancing (quite literally) American consumerism. It’s like watching the Queen visit McDonalds, hate it at first but then ask Philip for another Big Mac. Overall, this is a great film for all. My boyfriend even liked it – and he usually only likes films advertised with aggressively grey posters. Make sure you don’t rush out to beat the traffic – there’s a mid-credit treat. Bring on the Oscars for this one. I wonder whether Mrs Travers would approve.

Lizzie Barclay

I think we all learnt that Emma Thompson could really act in 2003. We’re reminded every year at Christmas when Love Actually comes on. The scene where she’s given the CD gets me every time. Ten years on, she shows surprisingly similar moments in Saving Mr Banks. Good old fashioned British stoicism is obviously her forte, and she carries the film fantastically as Mrs Travers, the author of Mary Poppins. This film simultaneously tells two stories. Walt Disney’s wooing of Mrs Travers in order to obtain the movie rights for her famous book; and Mrs Travers’ rocky childhood in Australia. The juxtaposition of the two is clever. Through the eyes of Mrs Travers as a child, we see what influenced her iconic story. Mary Poppins fans like me will enjoy spotting the references to the Disney film throughout. The obvious ones include that parrot umbrella, an unsuccessful trip to the bank and, of course, the musical score. Those who are less familiar with Mary Poppins (what on earth did you watch on sick days from school?) won’t miss out too much. After all, the film touches on some serious and thought-provoking themes - parenthood, alcoholism, suicide even. I cried twice, in fact. But it also explores a fundamentally fun one: the ultimate clash between stiff upper-lipped Britishness and all singing, all dancing (quite literally) American consumerism. It’s like watching the Queen visit McDonalds, hate it at first but then ask Philip for another Big Mac. Overall, this is a great film for all. My boyfriend even liked it – and he usually only likes films advertised with aggressively grey posters. Make sure you don’t rush out to beat the traffic – there’s a mid-credit treat. Bring on the Oscars for this one. I wonder whether Mrs Travers would approve.

Josie Gale

Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining and moving film telling the true story of Walt Disney wooing (for want of a better word!) P.L. Travers for the film rights of Mary Poppins. But it is told with flashbacks to her childhood and some of the largely traumatic events that inspired her famous characters. It is a film with great lead performances (as you would expect from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks) and fantastic support, particularly from Paul Giamatti. I would love to know more about how much of the story is true but as you're wiping away the tears at the end, it's worth sticking around for the credits to get a taste of the real Mrs Travers!

Ewan Comrie

This delightful movie starts and ends in the clouds, backed by faint tinkling piano renditions of the melodies of the Sherman brothers. Emma Thompson's Oscar worthy portrayal of P L Travers takes a similar leap from disgruntled prune to kite flying optimist and takes the audience along with her. Tom Hanks paints a masterly portrait of the complex, benevolent, visionary Disney and Colin Farrell is a revelation as Travers' beloved alcoholic Aussie Dad ... the mysterious inspiration for Mr Banks whose salvation is only possible in children's fiction. Rachel Griffiths as the super efficient aunt who rescues the Travers family from disintegration is instantly recognisable as the Down-Under source of Super Nanny Poppins. Go See!

Ewan Comrie

This delightful movie starts and ends in the clouds, backed by faint tinkling piano renditions of the melodies of the Sherman brothers. Emma Thompson's Oscar worthy portrayal of P L Travers takes a similar leap from disgruntled prune to kite flying optimist and takes the audience along with her. Tom Hanks paints a masterly portrait of the complex, benevolent, visionary Disney and Colin Farrell is a revelation as Travers' beloved alcoholic Aussie Dad ... the mysterious inspiration for Mr Banks whose salvation is only possible in children's fiction. Rachel Griffiths as the super efficient aunt who rescues the Travers family from disintegration is instantly recognisable as the Down-Under source of Super Nanny Poppins. Go See!

Kate Everitt

A well-crafted rendition of the merging of three of the worlds icons, Walt Disney, P.L. Travers and Mary Poppins. This story of a story is an insight into the lives of two people known for their creations, the lives behind the characters. Using actual footage and archives, the nostalgia of Chim Chiminy and Let's Go Fly A Kite this film tells us of Walt Disney's perseverance and promise to turn the beloved story of the flying Nanny and her carpet bag into a film. A reluctant and prim P. L. Travers has evaded Disney's grasp for the past 20 years. We meet her as she finally gives in to his request to at least try, and begrudgingly heads to Los Angeles to convince him that his whimsical, hip hopping, animated musicals are not fit for realistic, sensible Mary Poppins. Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson never fail to disappoint and the strong supporting cast bring the joy of Mary Poppins into the story of its cinematic birth. The familiar songs invite you to revisit your childhood, the awkward encounters between jolly "Walt" and no-nonsense "Mrs Travers" give you a chuckle and the flash backs to Australia and the fraught childhood of the author make you shed a tear. Based on truth and full of enchantment Saving Mr Banks is a must see for Disney and Marry Poppins fans alike.

Beth Coker

Taciturn Travers wages war against the whimsy of Walt Disney in a film that is both brilliantly witty and emotionally captivating. The story of Mary Poppins becomes even more dear to the viewer as Mrs.Travers fights for her characters, subsequently reliving her childhood in the process. At the heart of the story, we find that the magic of Disney isn't made of fluff - it's a legitimate perspective on life which allows us to see the sun rather than the rain. Not only does this movie enchant and entertain...it just may leave you singing "Let's Go fly A Kite" as you exit the theater. Thanks Time Out!!

Beth Coker

Taciturn Travers wages war against the whimsy of Walt Disney in a film that is both brilliantly witty and emotionally captivating. The story of Mary Poppins becomes even more dear to the viewer as Mrs.Travers fights for her characters, subsequently reliving her childhood in the process. At the heart of the story, we find that the magic of Disney isn't made of fluff - it's a legitimate perspective on life which allows us to see the sun rather than the rain. Not only does this movie enchant and entertain...it just may leave you singing "Let's Go fly A Kite" as you exit the theater. Thanks Time Out!!

Rebecca Walton

Saving Mr Banks is a wonderful film! Based on a true story, it does justice to the real human beings behind the drama. Whilst using well it's artistic licence and boasting an excellent star studded cast. When Mrs P.L Travers, a refined, cool mannered authoress, finds herself in the grip of financial struggles, her only way out it seems, is her greatest creation, The magical, flying nanny; Mary Poppins! A character who long ago won the heart of Walt Disney himself. And in an attempt to honour a twenty year old promise, he offers vast sums of money for the movie rights. Thus begins an arduous journey, which sees a reluctant Travers flown out to Hollywood. Once there she battles constantly to see that things go her way. Practically blackmailing Disney, with the, as yet, unsigned rights to her book. The contrast between her and the Americans has hilarious consequences. Walt and his employees are like living Disney characters themselves, chirpy, theatrical and full of sunshine smiles. All much to the stern faced disgust of their guest. I could not help but laugh my way through every awkward exchange. However the film has a much deeper tale to tell. Flashes of Pamela Travers' tragic childhood are woven throughout. There lies the making of that hard faced woman. As the story unfolds in beautiful and heartbreaking detail. We learn how the Poppins books came to be and why they mean so much to their creator. It is this stunning combination of real emotion and humour that gives the film it's magic. And the effect is magnified further by the Disney soundtrack that suits the mood, while conjuring ones own childhood. Those classic songs of chimney sweeping have never had a deeper meaning. Ultimately it's all about unconditional love and looking beneath the surface to find truth. A truly heartwarming film, that will stay with you long after the credits begin to roll.

Rebecca Walton

Saving Mr Banks is a wonderful film! Based on a true story, it does justice to the real human beings behind the drama. Whilst using well it's artistic licence and boasting an excellent star studded cast. When Mrs P.L Travers, a refined, cool mannered authoress, finds herself in the grip of financial struggles, her only way out it seems, is her greatest creation, The magical, flying nanny; Mary Poppins! A character who long ago won the heart of Walt Disney himself. And in an attempt to honour a twenty year old promise, he offers vast sums of money for the movie rights. Thus begins an arduous journey, which sees a reluctant Travers flown out to Hollywood. Once there she battles constantly to see that things go her way. Practically blackmailing Disney, with the, as yet, unsigned rights to her book. The contrast between her and the Americans has hilarious consequences. Walt and his employees are like living Disney characters themselves, chirpy, theatrical and full of sunshine smiles. All much to the stern faced disgust of their guest. I could not help but laugh my way through every awkward exchange. However the film has a much deeper tale to tell. Flashes of Pamela Travers' tragic childhood are woven throughout. There lies the making of that hard faced woman. As the story unfolds in beautiful and heartbreaking detail. We learn how the Poppins books came to be and why they mean so much to their creator. It is this stunning combination of real emotion and humour that gives the film it's magic. And the effect is magnified further by the Disney soundtrack that suits the mood, while conjuring ones own childhood. Those classic songs of chimney sweeping have never had a deeper meaning. Ultimately it's all about unconditional love and looking beneath the surface to find truth. A truly heartwarming film, that will stay with you long after the credits begin to roll.