Walt Disney wanted to make the beloved children’s books Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers (Helen Goff, no spoilers, look it up or watch) into a movie.
Travers didn’t approve of Disney and only succumbed when desperate.
Here’s the rub, as charming as it is, the entire premise of the movie is quite fictionalized.
P.L. Travers had already sold the rights to Disney before her trip to LA; there were no breakthrough moments; Travers and Disney never agreed on the film, and Walt Disney didn’t hang around to coddle Mrs. Travers, he left her with his minions.
Does this lack of historical accuracy take away from the film? Perhaps. Why not show that like many other authors, Travers, was displeased with the film adaptation of her work?
Although, it’s a film adaptation of a film being adapted; adaptation means change.
Purists who believe books or history shouldn’t be tweaked when progressing into film would probably be happier sticking with books or history, although those can be tampered with as well. They should never watch films adapted from books by Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, for example.
Travers is given to us by the ever-enchanting Emma Thompson and I-don’t-always-know-why-but-he’s-awesome Tom Hanks as Disney. Also impressive work by Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, Rachel Griffiths, Bradley Whitford, and Annie Rose Buckley.
Most intriguing part of this film? The underlying theme of fundamental acceptance, the need to accept, let go of your fears, worries, woes, bad memories, carpet baggage as it were and enjoy the moment.
It reminded me of The Resilience Breakthrough: 27 Tools for Turning Adversity into Action by Christian Moore with Brad Anderson and Kristen McQuivey (Greenleaf Book Group Press). While some self-help type books can be long-winded and boring, this was very readable, with an easy flow and excellent points. I borrowed this ecopy from Netgalley https://www.netgalley.com/ For bloggers this is a great place to get ARCs and ebooks to review, free.
Walt Disney was resilient. He knew fighting reality was not only exhausting, but you can’t win, the odds are never in your favour. He accepted reality and adversity, then changed his expectations to change his reality. Like or dislike him, Disney was intriguing and his changing of reality has left an indelible glass slipper shoe print on the world.
Mrs. Travers didn’t accept things. Her awareness was always tainted by her childhood memories, instead of accepting them as a part of her.
I like the movie and the book versions of Mary Poppins. Quite different, but sometimes, that’s for the best.
In the end this movie is a sweet story about how life can always, always, always surprise you. Always.
Don’t worry about the inconsistencies, after all, isn’t all of life based on a true story?