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5.0 2
Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen, Brittany Murphy

Cast: Joshua Michael Stern, Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen, Brittany Murphy


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A man seeks to unlock the mysteries of his family's tragic past in this drama. Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) is a psychiatrist who has resigned a prestigious position at a major university to take a job at the Millwood Clinic, a private residential facility run by one Dr. Reed (William Hurt). Riley tells Reed


A man seeks to unlock the mysteries of his family's tragic past in this drama. Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) is a psychiatrist who has resigned a prestigious position at a major university to take a job at the Millwood Clinic, a private residential facility run by one Dr. Reed (William Hurt). Riley tells Reed he was inspired to come to Millwood by the case of a family friend who was a patient there years before, but what Riley doesn't mention is the person in question was his father, T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte), a successful but reclusive children's author whose book "Neverwas" became a remarkable critical and popular success. For all his talent and success, Pierson was haunted by mental illness and drug addiction, and after leaving Millwood he committed suicide, with young Zach finding the body. Ever since, his mother (Jessica Lange) has been bitter and blamed Zach for Pierson's death, and he's come to Millbrook looking for answers and closure regarding his dad. While working with the patients at Millwood, Riley strikes up a friendship with Gabriel (Ian McKellen), a charming older man with a poor connection to reality who was friendly with Pierson when they were both in treatment there; Riley also renews his childhood friendship with Maggie Blake (Brittany Murphy), a Millwood intern who was powerfully affected by "Neverwas" when she was young. Neverwas is the first feature film from writer and director Joshua Michael Stern.

Product Details

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Original Release:
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Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Aaron Eckhart Zach Riley
Ian McKellen Gabriel
Brittany Murphy Maggie Blake
Nick Nolte T.L. Pierson
William Hurt Dr. Peter Reed
Jessica Lange Katherine Pierson
Michael Moriarty Dick
Alan Cumming Jake
Vera Farmiga Eleanna
Bill Bellamy Martin Sands
Cynthia Stevenson Sally
Ryan Drescher Young Zach

Technical Credits
Joshua Michael Stern Director,Screenwriter
Trip Brock Sound/Sound Designer
James Cordeiro Set Decoration/Design
Aaron Eckhart Co-producer
Cathy Sandrich Gelfond Casting
Philip Glass Score Composer
Michael Grady Cinematographer
Marina Grasic Executive Producer
Sean Hargreaves Production Designer
Helen Veronica Jarvis Art Director
Nathan Kahane Executive Producer
Sidney Kimmel Producer
Rachel Leiterman Asst. Director
Carsten H.W. Lorenz Co-producer
Amanda Mackey-Johnson Casting,Executive Producer
Jeff McEvoy Editor
Monique Prudhomme Costumes/Costume Designer
Greg Shapiro Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Neverwas
1. Neverwas [4:42]
2. The New Doctor [6:28]
3. I Know It's You [9:17]
4. Joy and Woe [9:57]
5. Reminiscing [7:33]
6. The King of Neverwas [11:19]
7. A Place to Belong [10:53]
8. Something Hopeful [12:12]
9. Neverwas is Real [10:30]
10. The Minions [11:04]
11. Nothing to Fear [3:06]
12. A Prophecy Fulfilled [5:35]

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Neverwas 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
NEVERWAS, a little miracle of a movie written and directed by Joshua Michael Stern, is an allegory, a fairytale, a dissection of the impact of mental illness on parents and children, and story of compassion, believing, and blossoming of character that was created with a sterling ensemble of actors in 2005, failed to find a niche in theatrical distribution, and went straight to DVD - becoming one of those limited release films that is very elusive even in the megavideo stores. The reasons for this relative anonymity are not clear, but film lovers will do well searching out this little gem: the rewards are immediate gratification and long lasting satisfaction. Narrated by Ian McKellan who plays a major role in the film, the story concerns the return of psychiatrist Zachary Riley/Small (Aaron Eckhart) to an obsolete mental institution named Millhouse, the hospital where his author father T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte) ended his days in suicide, having suffered from bipolar syndrome. Zach wants to discover secrets about his father, why his father's book 'Neverwas' has been so disturbing to Zach, and to offer good medical treatment to those patients living in the obscure hospital run by the kindly but enigmatic Dr. Reed (William Hurt). Zach is buoyant, greets his new job with joy, and works with various patients in group and individual therapy (the group includes well developed characters portrayed by Alan Cumming, Vera Farmiga, and Michael Moriarty, among others) and encounters the apparently mute Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellan), a delusional man who believes Zach has returned to break the curse preventing his return to his imaginary kingdom of Neverwas. Zach meets a 'grad student botantist'/reporter Ally (Brittany Murphy) who loves Zach's father's book and urges Zach to read the fairytale as a means to assuage Zach's new nightly nightmares and insomnia dealing with images of himself as a child, his father's suicide, and other strange forces. Ally's commitment to Zach's father's book, Zach's breakthrough to Gabriel Finch, together with Zach's re-evaluation of his agoraphobic mother (Jessica Lange) all intertwine to reestablish Zach's discovery of his relationship to a father whose mental illness prevented the close relationship Zach so desperately missed. In a tumbling set of events that incorporate the fairytale of the book Neverwas with the reality of Zach's father's relationship to Gabriel Finch brings the story to a heartwarming, well considered, touching conclusion. Being 'unordinary' is a goal, not a curse. In addition to the above-mentioned stellar cast, small parts are also created by Bill Bellamy, Ken Roberts, Cynthia Stevenson among others. The cinematography by Michael Grady manages to keep the audience balanced between real and fantasy and the musical score by renowned composer Philip Glass fits the story like a glove. Ian McKellan gives a multifaceted performance of a man whose delusional life is far more real than his life as a mental patient, Aaron Eckhart finesses the transformation of the lost child seeking his roots with great skill, Nick Nolte gives one of his finer interpretations as the disturbed father/author, and Brittany Murphy manages to maintain a much needed lightness to the atmosphere of the mental institution story setting. The impact of the film, while absorbing from the first images, is the ending, a reinforcement of the importance of love and nurturing that too often is relegated to little books for children instead of the manner in which we live our lives. This is a fine film well worth ferreting out from the obscurity to which it so unjustly has been assigned. Grady Harp
LadySarah More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie. It was soo good I spent the better part of a month trying to find the book that it was written from, but it seems to be a movie in it's own right. I found it on th eNetsflix instant movies (now you have to get it on DVD though). I even bought a few of the songs from the soundtrack. It is the perfect movie for when you're feeling a little down. It makes you want to play in the rain or try to find fairies in the garden!