1903 London. Renowned playwright J.M. Barrie (James)'s latest effort has garnered less than positive reviews, something he knew would be the case even before the play's mounting. This failure places pressure on James to write another play quickly as impresario Charles Frohman needs another to replace the failure to keep his theater viable. Out for a walk with his dog in part to let his creative juices flow, James stumbles upon the Llewelyn Davies family: recently widowed Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (the daughter of now deceased author George L. Du Maurier) and her four adolescent sons. James and the family members become friends, largely based on he and the boys being able to foster in each other the imagination of children, James just being the biggest among them in this regard. Sylvia also welcomes James into their lives, he who becomes an important and integral part of it. Among the six of them, the only one who does not want to partake is Sylvia's third, Peter Llewelyn Davies, who is ... Written by
I had heard that this was merely a "chick flick." Hey, my wife is the one who wanted to go see it. As it turned out, I went with three other guys, and we all loved it.
Some movies entertain; some teach; some open up new worlds. This movie opened up new worlds. With each passing scene, carefully woven from the previous ones, it was like crossing yet another threshold into another world. The story unfolded deeper and deeper with each new scene, each layer adding not to complexity (the story is rather simple), but to the depth. Depp and the others (esp. the young actor who played Peter) easily lead the audience deeper and deeper into the paths of authenticity, healing, love, friendship and the triumph of inner strength. The other characters, likewise, garnish the central story excellently.
The only flaw I saw is, I'm sure, a matter of taste and perspective; I felt the grandmother was simply too two-dimensional and not as believable as she should have been, though she, too, had some beautiful moments that truly added to the film.
Having much experience with divorce (being a divorce attorney) I found the unfortunate relationship between Depp's character and his wife believable to a tee: two people deeply in love with each other yet more committed to personal pursuits than tending the difficult relationship we call marriage. Ironically, though Depp's character ultimately became the main caretaker of the four boys, by following the tender feelings of his heart, he allowed his marriage to evaporate by not following the other tender feelings of his heart.
Nearly perfect. I give it a 9 out of 10.
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