Boasting terrific lead performances by Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, this witty and warmhearted movie tells the story of how Disney’s classic Mary Poppins came to be filmed.
The movie combines delicious culture-clash comedy with affecting biographical insights as, in 1961 Hollywood, Hanks’ Walt Disney sets about coaxing Thompson’s prickly author PL Travers into letting him put her cherished magical nanny on screen.
Thompson soon clashes with Disney’s creative team about how her character should be filmed, objecting to almost everything that is suggested, but flashbacks to her troubled Australian childhood – featuring Colin Farrell as her loveable but feckless, alcoholic father – reveal why the story of Mary Poppins means so much to her.
Thompson reveals Travers’ inner pain and also brilliantly mines the humour in her crankiness, Hanks gives Disney a perfect, folksy shrewdness and Paul Giamatti supplies touching support as the relentlessly cheery driver who slowly thaws Travers’ frostiness.
•This film will not be shown if BBC1 screens this evening’s World Cup football. Please visit whatsontv.co.uk/worldcup for more details.