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Review: Finding Neverland (2004)

Finding Neverland (2004)

Directed by: Marc Forster

Premise: The story of author James Matthew Barrie (Johnny Depp) and the influences from his life that inspired him to write Peter Pan.

What Works: The performances by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet as Sylvia Davies are very strong. There is a love triangle between them and the Ansell Barrie, James’ wife, but the film does not turn its narrative over to a simple love story, but rather it keeps accelerating the conflict with the relationships between Barrie and Davies’ children and her mother (Julie Christie).

What Doesn’t: Finding Neverland does get a little sentimental at times but it uses humor to keep from wallowing in it. 

Bottom Line: The film has a great message to tell about the value of being playful and using your imagination and how the grown up world snuffs that out. This is a metatext, a story about storytelling, and it addresses the reasons we need fantasy. This is definitely a film for fans of Depp, Peter Pan, and those who like fantasy stories. It would also appeal to those who enjoyed Shakespeare in Love or Quills.

Episode: #30 (December 5, 2004)