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Author P.L Travers (Emma Thompson) is in dire financial straits. Her Mary Poppins books are beloved by readers young and old, but since she’s resolved not to write another, her income has dried up. She does have a single remaining option – but it’s one she’s been resisting for years. She could sign on the dotted line, and let filmmaking maestro Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) adapt her stories for the screen.
Without concealing her reluctance, Travers finally agrees to travel to LA from her London home and meet with Disney. Outspoken and unbending, it’s not long before she’s making mincemeat of his creative team, producer Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and songwriters Robert and Richard Sherman (B.J Novak and Jason Schwartzman). She is determined that Mary Poppins will not be Americanised in any way, and that the film will feature neither singing nor animation. The immovable object of her willpower is about to meet the unstoppable force of Disney’s persuasive charm.
But in the course of their clash, he will discover that there’s more to Travers than mere stubbornness. The waspish author was once a little girl called Helen Goff (Annie Rose), whose relationship with her adored but troubled father Travers (Colin Farrell) would shape her future life and work.