SAVING MR. BANKS: A Spoonful of Grace | FCC 140

In the film SAVING MR. BANKS, Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) learns what grace means as she is restored by Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks). Join us as we discuss these Christians themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ in Tom Hanks Films podcast.

For your convenience you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:

  • 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
  • 00:05:04 – Movie Discussion
  • 00:27:57 – Christian Themes in SAVING MR. BANKS
  • 00:51:39 – Listener Feedback
  • 00:53:18 – Upcoming

A Spoonful of Grace Helps the Truth Go Down

Helen “P.L. Travers” Goff is overly protective of her artistic creations and understandably so. The Banks family and even Mary Poppins herself, according to Helen, are her family. She loves them more deeply than most people with whom she comes into contact. She loves this family she has created and will do anything to protect them.

When Walt Disney approaches Helen for the rights to vivify Mary Poppins on the silver screen, she has several hesitations. Whether by making her story a musical or by using cartoons, Helen is worried that Walt will make Mary into a farce and thus render her irrelevant fluff. No matter how many times Walt tries to convince her otherwise, Helen is still defensively wary of his tricks.

This image from SAVING MR BANKS shows Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.

The staunchest picture of this over-protective behavior is seen when, in a fit of passion, Helen takes the Mary Poppins script and throws it out the window. Of course, this is after she verbally destroys everything that scriptwriter Don DaGradi, music men Richard and Robert Sherman, and even Walt Disney have all done so far.

Her words are meant to tear down everything they’ve built and cut down everything they’ve cultivated in this endeavor, and it’s a picture of how Christians are not supposed to act. We’re called to be gracious in our sharing of the truth, not use the truth as a sword to destroy. We honor our Heavenly Father by being graceful toward others in the same way He is graceful toward us.

Saving Helen Goff

Helen’s retaliatory conduct stems from a lifetime of guilt and shame from not having a right relationship with her father. Furthermore, she bears the guilt and shame of not being able to save him. Walt knows all this when he makes his final attempt to reach out to her.

This image from SAVING MR BANKS shows Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers.

She has remained obstinate through the whole process, but when Walt confesses his story of how he dealt with his father, Helen realized that she wasn’t alone in this kind of battle. Walt was able to lift her up and encourage her, and from that encouragement make her feel protected – another example of how the church is supposed to work in the world.


Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.

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About Brenden Taylor

Brenden is a graduate student pursuing his Master in Theatre Arts degree with Regent University. He is an educational assistant and tutor by day and a theatre practitioner by night. You can find him live-tweeting his favorite movies on Twitter @LeviTheBeliever or posting poetry and unsolicited opinions at thebookofbrenden.com
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  • Philip Heard

    Hey guys, great episode on a great film!

    I won’t be able to re-watch MR. BANKS until this weekend, but I think the strongest message is the relentless grace and forgiving attitude the character of Walt Disney exemplified. You guys spoke well of it, and it reminds me a bit of the Hound of Heaven, pursuing us with mercy and love despite ourselves.

    That Kindle book sounds like a great idea, you guys should go for it, and since Brenden already has reviews written up on so many Tom Hanks films, much of the work is done.

    Love the show guys! #muhweeladgimli

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