Saving Mr Banks (2013)

Emma Thompson – P.L. Travers

Author P.L. Travers delighted generations of children all over the world with Mary Poppins.

In this movie she is described as a snobby stubborn woman who throws tantrums and abides pears, Americans, cartoons and who thinks it’s blasphemy to drink tea from a paper cup.

She flies to Los Angeles to meet Walt Disney and her trip is emotionally distressing, because it stirs up long-buried memories about her childhood and her alcoholic father. “It’s as if my subconscious is attacking me,” she says, talking on the phone at night with her agent.

She hates the idea of having her book made into a film, so she tries to get Disney and his team lose their patience. She is rude to everyone. The only person who can break through her dry heart is Ralph, the limousine driver, to whom she signs a book before leaving. He is the only person allowed to call her by name.

Emma explains how she approached playing this role. To embody Pamela Travers, she had to study her posture, her gestures and also her shrill and annoying voice.

Pamela is pretty nasty a lot of the time but she is also a vulnerable creature, with a not-so-cheery disposition. But in some isolated moments, Mr Disney makes her smile and he manages to surprise her, especially when he takes her to Disneyland and forces her to take a ride on the carousel.

I love the scene in which she finally let herself go and dances.

Great performance by Emma whose character was not easy to play.

What is all this jollification?

They all had difficulties.