Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland


Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This dramatized account of how Sir James Matthew Barrie came to write his beloved play Peter Pan is itself magical, not to mention poignant. Finding Neverland begins with playwright Barrie (beautifully played by Johnny Depp) fretting over his latest opus, the failure of which has cost his producer (Dustin Hoffman) dearly. While lounging on a park bench, he takes an interest in four boys, the sons of recently widowed Sylvia Llewellyn Davies (Kate Winslet). These lads, especially the soulful young Peter (Freddie Highmore), stimulate Barrie's creative juices and give him an idea for a new play. But his relationship with the Davies family sets idle tongues wagging and imperils his marriage. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) avoids depicting anything untoward, although in later years some biographers have suggested that Barrie's interest in the Davies boys was not entirely wholesome. As played by Depp, the playwright only attempts to keep alive his own youthful sense of wonder while nurturing the concept that eventually becomes Peter Pan. The performances are all above reproach, with Academy Award nominees Depp and Winslet receiving excellent support from Julie Christie (as Sylvia's domineering mother) and Radha Mitchell (as Barrie's frustrated wife). Also notable is Highmore, whose unmannered portrayal of Peter Llewellyn Davies is one of the best turns we've seen from a child actor in years. Brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed, this charming period picture will affect even the most cynical, skeptical viewer -- and it will delight those who cherish the notion that a Neverland might actually exist.
All Movie Guide
The modestly scaled Finding Neverland is a marvel of tone -- it is an emotional film that never feels melodramatic or manipulative while offering some wonderfully charming and funny moments. Serious emotional pains are felt throughout the film, from the death of a parent to the death of a marriage to the death of a child. Director Marc Forster never flinches from the truth of that pain, but allows J.M. Barrie to share his fantasy world with the people he loves in order to make the pain more tolerable. Considering the wildly melodramatic sections of Forster's previous film (Monster's Ball), it is surprising that he would be capable of such subtlety. Johnny Depp usually gets his most impressive reviews for playing larger than life eccentrics (Captain Jack Sparrow, Hunter S. Thompson, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood). One of the pleasures of Finding Neverland is watching him play an eccentric on a human scale. His James M. Barrie is prone to daydreaming, but these moments arise out of mundane, everyday activities. As Barrie watches the four children jump on their beds, he imagines them flying out the window, and the moment has a sense of wonderment about it because the audience shares Barrie's pleasure in the image. Forster allows the audience to see the world as Barrie sees it, and Depp grounds the performance in reality, making it easier to accept the intricate daydreams and pretend worlds. Finding Neverland wants little more than to allow the audience to learn the same lesson that Kate Winslet and her boys do, and it succeeds with charm, warmth, and sensitivity. Perry Seibert

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Product Details

Release Date:
Miramax Lionsgate
Region Code:

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Night [6:31]
2. Just a Dog [7:57]
3. Developing Character [7:27]
4. Go Fly a Kite [5:32]
5. Adventures of the Brothers Davies [8:44]
6. Summer Cottage [8:34]
7. More Than a Chest Cold [8:19]
8. Words With Mr. Barrie [7:59]
9. Peter Pan [4:34]
10. Encore Performance [17:08]
11. Finding Neverland [7:11]
12. Credits [6:31]

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