So Saving Mr. Banks, one of the last major pieces to the Oscar puzzle, has officially joined the Oscar race. The reviews are mixed to say the least. Many say that the acting is great, and that it is an entertaining movie, and maybe the feel-good film of the fall. But most critics so far also agree it is a bit pat. Does anyone else remember the same reaction from The Help and The Blind Side, both Best Picture nominees, and Oscar winners for acting? I think most people also agree that it could easily enter the Oscar race (as stated before). In a year of hard movies to watch, survival stories, and dark comedies, I think that Saving Mr. Banks is the kind of movie that Oscar voters will embrace as the alternative. With these kind of reviews, I don't think it will win (and may end up being left out all together), but definitely be on the lookout for it.
Leslie Felperin from The Hollywood Reporter writes:
"Taken strictly on its own terms, Saving Mr. Banks works exceedingly well as mainstream entertainment. At first a classic fish out of water, with her haughty Old World ways when she lands in laid back informal 1961 Hollywood, Mrs. Travers (as she insists she should be called) is gradually won round by Walt and staff. Three men in particular are tasked with coaxing her script approval and trust: writer Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford), composer Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzman) and his lyricist brother Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak). The last two really have their work cut out for them given Travers is only mildly less resistant to having songs in the film than she is to animation"
Scott Foundas at Variety, thinks that it will hit big with audiences and Academy voters:
"Thick with affection for Hollywood’s most literal “dream factory” and wry in its depiction of the studio filmmaking process, director John Lee Hancock’s “Sunset Blvd.” lite (which opens Dec. 13 after London and AFI festival berths) should earn far more than tuppence from holiday audiences — and from awards voters who can scarcely resist this sort of mash note to the magic of movies (e.g., “Argo,” “The Artist”)."
Ashley Clark from Indiewire, gave it a B, writing:
"Ultimately, "Saving Mr Banks" is witty, well-crafted and well-performed mainstream entertainment which, perhaps unavoidably, cleaves to a well-worn Disney template stating that all problems - however psychologically deep-rooted - can be overcome. And perhaps we shouldn't be overly surprised at occasional lapses into sentimentality from the director behind triumph-over-adversity films like "The Rookie" and "The Blind Side." But it casts fresh new light on a classic Hollywood story, and is anchored by a fine turn from Thompson. Her blend of steeliness and vulnerability really lingers in the memory."