Monthly Archives: January 2014

Saving Mr. Banks — Movies for Lawyers — The Act Of Communication Point Of View

14 January 2014



Every attorney should run, not walk, to see Saving Mr. Banks. It is as fine an example of “choosing which story to tell” I have seen in a long time. All storytellers, especially attorneys, have this issue. There are so many facts in any case, so many “trees.” I spend much of my time helping attorneys figure out what story is most persuasive in the vast expanse of trees (the facts of the case). What parts have to be included and what parts should be left out as we make a specific forest with specific trees?

When I contemplate all the pieces of “story” that writers Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith had – and what they chose to keep and what to let go of in order to make this brilliant uber-story – I am truly inspired in my work with attorneys. And what a story it is: Clash of Two Geniuses. The creator of the series of Mary Poppins books, PL Travers fights with tooth and nail and ultimately creates an iconic movie with film maker and entrepreneur, Walt Disney. If you go to either of their biographies on (click on their names in the previous sentence) you will have a small idea of the number of trees that needed to be sorted – wheat from chaff – in the life stories of these 20th century greats. Then, see the film and realize that Marcel and Smith made choices, just as attorneys make choices, when telling the story that needs to be told to make the point.

There is so much more that this film has to offer if you are just a lover of the cinema. Glorious performances – Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are stellar and lead a brilliant company of players. If you are the kind of film go-er who leaves a movie before the end credits have played (Really? You saw Cinema Paradiso and didn’t learn your lesson?) you MUST stay so that you can hear the voice of the real PL Travers and marvel Thompson’s performance. Hanks delivers a monologue near the end of the film which is equal to if not better than anything I have ever seen him do. I haven’t liked him this much since Philadelphia. Even if you are a cynic who hated the film Mary Poppins, you may just love this film so much you will change your mind. Our director pal, Nigel Dick is a wonderful Brit who loathed the classic film as a child. The film didn’t live up to the books and he hated it. After seeing Saving Mr. Banks, Nigel bought Mary Poppins and it had a whole new meaning for him.


TIP: What are the facts that are wheat and which are chaff in the case?