P.L. Travers is an author in a bind: Walt Disney wants to buy the rights to her book Mary Poppins to turn it into a film, and while she doesn't want to sell, she is desperately strapped for cash. She agrees to be flown out to Los Angeles to hear Mr. Disney's pitch, but she refuses to let her beloved character be turned into a fantasy. Along her journey, she reflects back upon her childhood, in which her loving father set up fantasy scenarios to distract her from the looming threats to their well-being, such as the collapsing job market and his own alcoholism. She agrees to let Disney begin production on Mary Poppins, but she holds the contract for the rights in her purse, meaning at any time she can refuse, and all of Disney's work would be for naught. While Disney desperately tries to figure out a way to reach this woman on an emotional level, she desperately seeks a single human being in Los Angeles who can relate to her; outside of her kindly limo driver, no one else in the city seems to be sensitive to her cause. Once Disney realizes that Mary Poppins isn't a savior for the children, but rather a savior for their father, Travers finds that perhaps a film version of Mary Poppins might be salvageable after all.
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