Saving Mr. Banks: How to Rewrite History Can Heal the Past

When the book falls into the hands of Disney writers, many years later, the characters reinvented themselves and saved themselves, thus causing the healing of the author’s childhood trauma.


Today we approach the analysis of a film with a deep psychological background. Saving Mr. Banks tells a tragic story with a happy ending. The story of a little girl who dragged to her adult life a traumatic event, which tries to capture as a professional writer.

Pamela Travers writes a series of books based on the history of her childhood and whose main character has become an icon worldwide: Mary Poppins. Although it is not until the book falls into the hands of the Disney scriptwriters, many years later, that the characters reinvent themselves and save themselves, thus provoking the healing of Travers’ childhood trauma.

A beautiful story based on some real facts and other additions and that tells how to rewrite a story can heal the past. After all, our life story has a lot to do with who we are in the present. And when there are emotional wounds that did not close and travel with us, we do not finish leaving suffering behind. And it is that rewriting the past offers the possibility of living it and feeling it differently. And fix it like that, again, in the memory.

Saving Mr. Banks: the argument

Pamela Travers is the real name of the author of the stories of Mary Poppins. His childhood was marked by an alcoholic father and a mother who did not know how to take control of the family situation. When things got really serious, one of her aunts appeared on the scene to help them. She appeared suddenly with her umbrella and her briefcase full of magic remedies for everyone, determined to help them with their chaotic lives.

Many years later, as an adult and a writer, Pamela Travers (brilliantly played by Emma Thomson) wrote eight stories about a character based on her aunt and the story of her childhood: Mary Poppins. The books were an editorial success. For twenty years, Walter Disney, the American tycoon of the Disney empire (Tom Hanks in the film) chases Travers trying to get him to give him the copyright to take Mary Poppins to the big screen.

Saving Mr. Banks tells how the reinterpretation of the characters in the book and the changes that Disney writers manage to make, barely, about the original book, begin to horrify the author, to end up healing that open wound, that childhood trauma that he had traveled with her throughout his life.

When the wounds do not close

Sometimes, it happens that life has prepared painful events, hard blows, which are a test for our emotional intelligence. Especially the traumatic events that occurred in childhood are complicated. Because at those ages have not yet developed the tools necessary to regulate high levels of emotional pain.

That unhealed pain will accompany you throughout your life and will filter into your day to day, without time attenuate. Situations of his adult life that may be linked in some way to that trauma reopen the wounds, again and again.

Rewrite history

People who work through language know that their main power lies not only in communication. Language and speech are also tools that can heal. Different levels of cognition and thought intervene in language. Therapists use speech as a way of working. Therapy, in short, is a way that offers the possibility of telling a story again.

When you rewrite it, and shape it with the word, a whole world of possibilities opens up. Emotional encounters with the past and future perspectives narrated in the present. Review of values, strengths, weaknesses … Professionals work in therapy to be able to generate the necessary changes in the narration of the client’s life. Language is the way to bring order to mental chaos.

In that way the emotions change, and in doing so, also changes the memory of the events. Looking at our life as a story facilitates finding imaginary solutions that allow us to survive beyond obstacles.

“The path that the stories take allows each one to go in search of the desires that could make him happy. This is, without a doubt, the function of the stories. Who has not learned to dream is incapable of transcendence in the long run, he joins the present and shrinks his future.”

-Bruno Humbeek-