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 don't cry at movies. No eyes welling up . . as a rule. Okay, I cried during Henry V (the Kenneth Branagh version) when the French army slaughtered all the pages in the English camp. I don't even tend to care for movies that might make me cry. I spend my hard earned big screen cash on movies with big effects or epic vistas ( think The Matrix or The Lords Of the Ring) Finding Neverland was a glorious exception.
Beautifully acted, sweet but not syrupy and perfect for a break from all the holiday madness, Finding Neverland was a true gem. I don't believe its for as young of a crowd as I watched it with ( the 4 year old beside me was constantly needing plot clarification from her mother) but both my 47 year old husband & my 32 year old self were enchanted! In this jaded day & age it was a relief to see a movie that had romance without overt sexuality, a PLOT , and true emotion without sentimentality. And where did they find these child actors? Luke Spill, Joe Prospero, Nick Roud and especially Freddie Highmore were excellent. Rarely have I seen children perform on screen so realistically and charmingly. I'm sure they'll all have brilliant futures if they chose to stay in the business.
I would say something here about Johnny Depp but what is there to say? Besides, I'm biased- I've never seen a Johnny Depp movie I didn't like, & I'm sure I've seen every one! Julie Christie was a powerhouse playing a difficult character in the most likable way.
Don't let this movie slip under your radar! Finding Neverland will warm your heart without your having to turn off your brain. By the way, if you have a soul, take some tissues to use at the movies end.
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