Finding Neverland (2004) Poster

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The Mystery Of It All
abelardo646 February 2005
Johnny Depp takes us by the hand and in the gentlest most reassuring way leads into the heart, soul and mind of an artist. How easy is for the world to judge. How frightened we still are of all we don't understand. The very nature of innocence is suspect because innocence belongs exclusively to the innocent. Every time the world claims to protect it, tends to destroy it. "Finding Nerverland" is filled with moments of enlightenment. Moving and powerful moments but none more so than Julie Christie's face as she applauds, converted to the fantasy transported into her daughter's house. The moment and the enlightenment are short lived, but, somehow, remains in my mind as a glimmer of hope. If for a moment she accepts the mystery of it all, maybe we all could. Johnny Depp is the best American actor of his generation, period. Kate Winslet is a stunning rarity among her contemporaries. She doesn't look like anybody else and the camera catches every tiny little thought that crosses her marvelous face. Congratulations Mr. Forster you can count on me from this moment on as a devoted fan.
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One of Depp's finest films!
varbelaez32322 November 2004
I am not a film critic by any means, and don't aim to pose as one. That being said, I felt that this movie was by far one of the most touching and entertaining movies I have seen in my short 22 years. The cast is fabulous, every actor plays his/her part so to speak.

The story centers around J. M. Barrie, creator of Peter Pan, and his journey to writing the well-known play. It highlights his genius, while also showing the painful isolation that comes with being a mind ahead of your time. There are some liberties taken when put against the actual events that led up to the birth of Peter Pan, but don't let this dissuade you from watching--"Finding Neverland" was never slated as being a documentary!

Being a huge Johnny Depp fan, one would think that my judgment would be tainted by his involvement in the film. However, even I can admit to a failed Depp movie (i.e. The Secret Window). At first, I thought that putting Depp outside of his usual character type, a mildly strange pirate/writer/doctor/investigator/man with scissors for hands, might signify a substandard film. Boy was I wrong! He nailed J.M. Barrie and was absolutely captivating throughout the entire film. I hate to sound like a starry-eyed fan but I thought his performance in this movie was downright Oscar-worthy!

Depp is magnificent, but he does not carry the weight of this film on his own. A slue of other fine actors and actresses, Kate Winslet and Freddy Highmore just to name a few, give absolutely divine performances. Do yourself a favor, shell out the eight bucks and go see this movie!
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Depply Beautiful
filmquestint4 February 2005
I don't know how good this movie is and I don't care because I loved it. It left me kind of numb. Moved, transported, enchanted. That's exactly how I want to feel when I get out of a movie. "Finding Neverland" gave it to me, in spades. Johnny Depp, hey Johnny you're the best we've got. I forgot that it was you two minutes into the movie, I only knew I loved that character. That in itself is part of the many miracles the movie has in store. Yours, is a performance of perfect beauty. Kate Winslet is quickly becoming my favourite actress. Julie Christie is, was and always will be my "Darling" but Freddie Highmore, you and your brothers gave me one the best evenings in a movie theatre I had in a long, long, time. My girlfriend just read my comment over my shoulder, her comment was very succinct: "You write like a woman" Okay, let's see if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Good night kids.
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The Wings of Imagination
merrywood2 December 2004
The real J.M. Barrie was influenced and inspired as a child in Scotland by the adventurous stories of Robert Louis Stevenson of pirates, Indians and kidnapped boys. As a young journalist in London in the peak years of the Gilded Age his vivid imagination took him from novels to stage-plays.

Barrie loved games and founded a cricket club with fellow writers Arthur Conan Doyle and P.G. Wodehouse. An old nugget describing his personality tells of his comments upon himself and others that often appeared in the newspapers. He once remarked to H.G. Wells, "It is all very well to be able to write books, but can you wiggle your ears?" It was in the very early years of the 20th Century, now 101 years ago and the same year that in the windy Outer Banks of North Carolina that the Wright Brothers took flight that Jamie Barrie's Peter Pan soared into the air on wires in the London stage.

Marc Forester's fascinating film biography adapted by David Magee from Allan Knee's play, "The Man Who Was Peter Pan," now comes to us in this delightful, moving account, 'Finding Neverland.' It presents historical reality between lushly imagined expeditions to a fictitious Neverland. It's performed impeccably by Johnny Depp as Sir James Mathew Barrie and an extraordinary cast under the able direction of Marc Forster.

This is the loveliest film of the year, highly recommended. Bring Kleenex for the final scenes and see how difficult it is to leave the theater and return to today.
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jasonflum11 December 2004
I always tell my students that they can't claim a movie they just saw as their favorite movie ever because it has yet to stand the test of time. Every now and then a movie comes along that defies that rule for me -- a movie that as soon as I finish seeing it I know that it is an instant classic, if not "my favorite movie ever." American Beauty was such a movie.

Finding Neverland is such a movie. Every minute of this movie was simply incredible -- I felt like the kids in the theater on the opening night of Peter Pan. Johnny Depp is absolutely astounding, as he usually is, as JM Barrie. The rest of the adult cast doesn't quite come up to his level, but are uniformly strong. The kids, especially Peter and Michael, are wonderful. Maybe I just love the British accent, but one of my favorite scenes comes very early when Barrie meets Michael in the park -- Michael's accent reminded me so much of the kid in The Little Prince!

What raises this movie above standard fare, though, are the clever entries into Barrie's imagination. The magical moments in this movie seem to literally jump off the screen. Without a doubt, a film worthy of Oscar nominations for Depp, screenplay adaptation, cinematography (the pirate ship scene is gorgeous), and best movie of the year. Treat yourself - despite the PG rating, this is NOT a movie just for kids -- believe... 10/10
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Now that we're past the hype... don't miss this movie!
lochnessmummy29 December 2004
Every holiday season Harvey Weinstein and Miramax talk up one of their properties, fully expecting everyone to bow and throw awards at it as soon as it's released. This year it's Finding Neverland, which has produced a lot of buzz in favor of Johnny Depp's sophisticated performance. Although the film deserves all the praise it gets, it is understandable that moviegoers are a little weary with another dramatic period piece, with another "oscar caliber" cast, about yet another take on Peter Pan.

The bottom line is, this movie is phenomenal. Exploring the major theme of Barrie's play (that of a boy who never grows up), Finding Neverland refrains from condemning grown-ups, but exalts the wild magic one can enjoy as a kid. For James, who had to deal with his family's reticence upon the death of his brother, the real tragedy occurs when a child is forced to grow up too fast.

My favorite idea from this film is this: life finds a way to put into our lives the people we're supposed to be living our lives with. James and Sylvia needed each other, and they needed each other at that particular time. Life took care of them.

The film does indeed move at a snail's pace. Consider that part of the set design. Just as the characters go about 1905 London in top hats and buttoned-down gowns, so does the movie develop in a manner which would have been fitting for a time which preceded MTV-generation attention spans by about a hundred years.

As for the acting, it is wonderful. Depp is understated and gallant, Kate Winslet is lovely and tragic, and they're both better than I've ever seen them. Julie Christie is brutally ominous as the matriarch who can gum up everyone's happiness. Dustin Hoffman, although out of place, brings a dry wit as a risk-taking businessman. The boys playing the Davis kids are a lot of fun to watch and play their dramatic parts perfectly.

If you want something where all the pieces of the magic puzzle that is movie-making come together with grace, charm, and humanity, you won't find a more rewarding film than this.
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Superb Acting and Brilliantly Made
blackburnj-18 December 2004
Finding Neverland is one of the best films I have seen all year. Depp and Winslet are superb and their supporting cast is very strong in particular Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman and Freddie Highmore. Forster's direction is tight and he maintains a story which had the potential to drag. Depp delivers a performance that is truly believable and he interacts with his co-stars well, in particular, Freddie Highmore who delivers a performance that outshines Depp's. It is a tour de force of acting talent. Clearly Highmore has a great career ahead of him. 9/10 for a superb piece of film-making, made diligently but, unfortunately, up against such strong contention, it had to make do with a disappointing award haul.
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10 Stars! If you see no other movie this year, see this one!,
gradyharp23 November 2004
FINDING NEVERLAND is that rare work of art that transcends the medium of film and becomes a spirit-altering experience. Strong accolades? Gush? Perhaps so, but squeeze time out of the clutter of life and the holidays to see this movie and be transported to a place that nurturingly reassures us that the cycle of life is indeed good. Find Neverland!Marc Forster ('Monster Ball') has created a lovingly tender look at the playwright JM Barrie (Johnny Depp) in 1903 when, down on his luck with theater flops, unfulfilled by a marriage of Victorian standards to a beautiful but aloof and social climbing wife Mary (Radha Mitchell), and with writer's block, he encounters the Llewellyn Davies family - a widow Sylvia (Kate Winslet) and her four boys, George (Nick Roud), Jack (Joe Prospero), Michael (Luke Spill) and Peter (Freddie Highmore) - playing blissfully in Kensington Gardens. Barrie is captivated, draws the boys to him with his patient and infectious enthusiasm for play, and bonds with this family, gaining the obvious seeds for his highest achievement or creation, PETER PAN.How these seeds grow, despite the soft, yet supportive, growling of his producer Charles Frohman (Dustin Hoffman) and the not so soft interference of Sylvia's wealthy haughty mother Madame du Maurier (Julie Christie), form the storyline of this film. The magic comes from the skill of the writers (Alan Knee and David Magee) and director, the cinematographer (never has Victorian London glowed with such elegant gaslight presence), and the musical score by Jan Kaczmarek. Cameo roles are treated with tremendous respect: Eileen Essel as Mrs. Snow, Ian Hart as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Kelly MacDonald as the first Peter Pan, etc all are brief but fully realized and poignant. Given this support it is obvious that the talents of the lead performers will shine, and they glow they do with such understated performances that make the simple story of the sanctity of the inner child so cogent that there is not a dry eye in the house during the thankfully long credits. Johnny Depp continues to prove that he is one of the finest actors on the screen today: his Barrie has a flawless Scottish accent and a manner of movement and facial expressions that make him a gentle hero. Kate Winslet, never more beautiful, likewise embodies Sylvia with exactly the right amount of perk and pathos, and as her mother, Julie Christie is strikingly beautiful and unfailingly solid in a role less than loving. The boys are artfully recreated, never absurdly over the top, always very close to the bridge that crosses the craggy canyon between childhood and adulthood. Growing up has never been better portrayed - by all of the characters!In a time when too often films that address magic and imagination rely on computer effects to create creatures that are comic book absurd, FINDING NEVERLAND relies on simply showing the stage mechanics of the play, suspending wires and all, even in the climax of the story when Barrie brings his successful play to the living room of the ill Sylvia in order to keep his promise to her to take her to Neverland. No gimmicks here, just solid stagecraft very much in keeping with the inherent magic of Barrie's enduring play. This is a brilliant cinematic accomplishment - a feast for the eyes, the ears, the brain, and the soul. Please don't miss it! Grady Harp, November 2004
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This movie totally changed my perspective on Peter Pan!!!
mellowsongs17 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
**no spoilers** Finding Neverland covers a short period of the life of Sir James Matthew Barrie (the writer), between the release of his last play and his classic masterpiece Peter Pan.

This movie totally changed my perspective on Peter Pan. I was fascinated by the creativity of Sir Barrie. Seeing how the people and events around the author have inspired the play, and afterwards, how the play has affected them (Sylvia, her children, her mother and even an audience of all ages...) It makes you realize that even though the story of Peter Pan seems simple, it is rich with symbolisms and metaphors.

I don't know if this happened for real, but the 25 seat idea was an act of genius!! (This is all I can say about that without spoiling it for you)

When I was really young, I remember being captivated by Disney's animated version of Peter Pan. It had so many fascinating elements (for a young boy) such as: pirates, Indians, flying kids, faeries, sword fights... I was never tempted to get into Peter Pan again until today. Now that I know who the characters were based on, and their connection to Sir Barrie. But mainly because, Sir Barrie was true to himself when he wrote the play (towards the end, Peter (the boy) says to Sir Barrie "you are Peter"). The author strongly believed that the power of imagination can overcome age, sickness and death, and he tried to pass it on to everyone, but most importantly to the people he cared about (when he showed Sylvia Neverland).

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie to anyone who would like to go back in time and meet Sir James Matthew Barrie and follow the creative process that led him to Neverland.

Great performances by Depp, Winslet, Hoffman, and the Davies children were very impressive; specially Freddie Highmore (the one who played Peter)
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FINALLY! Sentiment you can swallow!
dbreazer28 November 2004
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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Beautiful, Moving Movie with Very Few Flaws
sidunrau31 December 2004
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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Finding Yourself
alexkolokotronis29 June 2009
I am not one to warm up to movies centered around themes such as this film. This is not because the idea of adults finding their inner child is ridiculous or immature to me. Its a result of films facing that theme also face a very big challenge on managing to correctly portray a transformation of an adult by children. Also if it actually extremely benefits the adult character in many profound ways. Most of the times films never succeed at this and are done so irresponsibly promoting dangerous styles of living that could be just as hurtful to others around us. Now the major question that is posed then, is why does this film succeed where others do not? What makes this film so precise yet so open?

With Johnny Depp as the lead character, James Matthew Barrie, you know he will be ideal for the role of someone inspired by creativity considering the unique feeling Depp can bring to any film. At the outset of the Finding Neverland, Depp's character is in dire straits to not only find himself as a writer but flat out just find himself. Eventually he does succeed at both through the help of three children he befriends whose mother, played by Kate Winslet, is ill. Depp discovers what he had long been missing, imagination and open mindedness. The children bring him that which is throughout is so wonderfully conveyed. His new lifestyle in no way endangers the people around him rather it enables his decisions to be more enlightened and thought out. Yet it still brings him into question. The cast is filled with talent ranging from of course Depp and Winslet as well to Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman. What the cast does not just play their characters, their characters are embodied by them all the way down to the performances of the kids.

Marc Foster takes on this challenge of an adult searching for himself with complete success. The writing and dialog is always engaging as well as the music and all the other technical aspects that go into making a movie. Still, remains the question what sets this film apart from others that attempted to be like it? Unlike other films this film is centered around youth equaling imagination and creativity. Not always is it a must to abide by the rules, maybe not the rule of law but the unwritten rules of being an adult, being a writer or any other sort of unwritten or written rule relating to anything. Nonetheless this must be done at a responsible and safe level which this film never fails to display. These rules can limit our creativity which limits the capabilities of our mind and ultimately drastically decreases the chances at happiness on any pure or genuine level.

Too often is youth simply associated with fun, stupidity and meaningless entertainment. It never falls into that trap. What this film shows is that we make meaning of our lives and this should start from our youth but not dissolve as our lives become further complex and self contradictory. Depp shows with his reclaimed youthfulness his life can only go up as does his happiness yet this is unjustifiably rejected by "responsible", "sensible" and "mature" adults. Depp's characters knows they are wrong through his writing and newfound appreciation of life but more importantly the people close to Depp know it and can see it to be true. In this way though, Finding Neverland may give us the key clue on how to find ourself.
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fantasy within a fantasy
nick suess25 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This movie is a fantasy about a fantasy, and as such it poses questions as to how we should view it. As a work of art, it evokes wonderfully the 'belle epoque' that centred on the first decade of the 20th century, when life was still permitted to be beautiful before it was torn apart by the shells and mustard gas of the decade that lay in store. And it does so with characters who enter stage left, exit stage right, and deliver the occasional sensitively lit monologue along the way. The most revealing moment is a shot of barely a couple of seconds duration, when after bidding goodnight to his wife who has entered her own separate bedroom, Barrie opens the door to his and reveals the briefest glimpse of a fantasy landscape within.

This is Barrie's fantasy, and the whole story is Barrie's life as he would have wished to fantasise it. Perhaps least satisfying is his cardboard cut-out wife, whom we see portrayed as a minor hindrance to his creative genius, especially as she dares to express jealousy that he prefers to spend all his time with another woman. We don't see the jealousy of Sylvia's husband Arthur, who was sufficiently inconsiderate not to die of cancer until about 9 years after Barrie first met Sylvia, and who most definitely resented his intrusion into their family life. This emotion has been transposed into Sylvia's mother, whose antagonism towards Barrie somehow does a 180 degree flip in the five-tissue fantasy scene that brings Neverland to Sylvia's home as she is on her deathbed.

Viewed as a work of biography, it falls apart through its gross inaccuracies. Viewed as a fantasy, it really ought to spend more time in Neverland, where it really belongs. If it is to successfully bridge the gap it needs to establish the link and better explain why Barrie needed his frequent departures into Neverland, certainly going a little deeper into this than the bland statement that his brother had died. This had in fact been an utterly profound event in his childhood. His mother had referred to this brother, David, as a boy who would never grow up. It was David who was the inspiration for Peter Pan, and Peter Llewelyn Davies merely provided the name. Peter Pan first appeared on stage three years prior to Arthur's death, so it was not inspired by the tormented angst of fatherless Peter. That's fantasy.

Pretty to watch. 7/10
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Beautiful, charming, heartbreaking and wonderful
EijnarAmadeus2 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
FINDING NEVERLAND simply lets Johnny Depp fly from being everybody's best friend in the extremely slick and stylish pirate Jack Sparrow into a mind-opener, writer and failed in success James M. Barrie.

Kate Winslet goes from the giggling, weird, mood-swinging Clementine from Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, into a lost but in the same time cheerful widow Sylvia L. Davies.

It's truly a beautiful little masterpiece. FINDING NEVERLAND is such charming, excellent in every way that you simply can't find anything negative about it. It's truly wonderful scenes as Depp's writer character hanging out with the family, trying to get a kite in the air is just so beautiful watching. But FINDING NEVERLAND finds it true class work in it's changes from fantasy and reality, seeing threw the eyes of a mind-unlocking Johnny Depp that sees everything else than we see in happenings. As when the Davies' family's strict grandmother points at one of the small boys, Barrie sees a hook in the old woman's hand and we can clearly see him shaping and creating the character of Captain Hook.

Threw all the beautiful scenes and truly inspiring settings, there are nice laughs put between and emotional work on the finest piece of work. Creating great settings as a small house on the county side, a elegant theater - all off course having its special place in the whole movie the picking of locations and moods are really breathtaking.

Johnny Depp does one of his best character performances ever, and with fine dialogs and fine poetic sentences threw the movie this can't do anything than be one big, charming beauty in his filmography. The whole idea of making a movie about how the writer of Peter Pan invented and started creating it, it's itself just original and great.

James Barrie being a successful writer are having dry times with his pen and paper, making disappointing plays, and with the theater owner Frohman counting 100% on him. While sitting in the park he suddenly bumps into a widow and her boys, this awakes a magic inside him and spending a summer with the family he gets new, incredible ideas and starts writing like never before. Although having problems with his wife, James Barrie realises that he has to put everything in his mind to create this play into something that would become Peter Pan.. STARS: 5/5
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Stunning Movie!
mac1derful2 April 2005
Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, two amazing performers. Now, throw in Dustin Hoffman, Julie Chrisite, and four adorable children and you're in for a treat: Finding Neverland; a story about a play write, Sir James M. Barrie, who meets a woman named Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, with four children, who doesn't have a husband. The family inspires him to write a story about children that don't want to grow up, evidently following the path of the story "Peter Pan". I really didn't expect to like the film as much as I did. I heard about it and was anxious to see it, probably for the fact that Johnny Depp was in it. I thought, "Hm... story about a writer... whatever", when I first heard about it. It didn't seem to be much of a big deal, but it is. I read about it on the computer to see if I'd want to go see it. It seemed interesting, but I wasn't dying to see it. I decided I'd wait until it was out on video. I was nudged by many of my friends to rent it and watch it, since they had thought it was stunning.

Three words: They were right! I watched it with lots of my friends at a party. Lots of them were goofing off at random points in the movie, but I felt hooked onto it. It was wonderful. I was pleased by Kate Winslets terrific and tragic performance. Johnny Depp was, as usual, stunning. He delivered a most sophisticated performance that was very touching, especially the ending scene. The children in the movie were perfect. Freddie Highmore was amazing. His acting was wonderful for such a young child. His performance was beautiful, especially in the last scene. If you see or have seen the movie, I'm sure you'll know what I mean. The emotions that wave throughout the movie are beautiful, and really touch your heart. Not only is there plenty of drama, tragedy, and make believe, but there's of course plenty of comical moments, too.

The film will most likely bore younger children, but I think teens and adults will find it quite lovely. This movie is full of beautiful use of imagination and delivers a sweet message. I think the ending was just beautiful, despite the fact that the screen was rather blurry, since my eyes were filled with tears. I remember hearing sniffles and seeing tissues being pulled out of their box from my friends as the credits rolled on. The ending is bitter sweet and very touching. This movie is magical, and I'm sure families around the world with think the same. Ah, yes, and If you found this review
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A Deceptively-Good Movie, Better Than What First Meets The Eye
ccthemovieman-116 April 2006
I found this to be just as nice a movie as it was advertised. I've seen it twice as of this review and liked it immensely more the second time. It helped that I now knew Freddie Highmore from his subsequent starring role in "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory" and it helped to watch this on my best TV which highlighted the magnificent cinematography in here.

This is simply a beautifully-filmed movie, stunning in parts, and a touching story that gets you involved and makes you think. It's nice to see Johnny Depp step out of character and play a clean-cut, wholesome-looking guy instead of some wacky weirdo. He did a great job of it, too, coming across as a very likable character: J.M. Barrie, the author of "Peter Pan."

The story offers an interesting dilemma: was Barrie an innocent friend helping out a family desperately in need a father figure, or was he "out of bounds" spending too much time with another family while he had a wife sitting home alone? The answer is the latter, even though the movie slants in favor of the former. Despite Barrie's good intentions, his first commitment was still with his wife. However, he was so good with those four kids in this film that it's hard to totally find fault with him.

Hightower is the youngest of four kids left without a dad. The older brothers are good kids and all of them are good actors. You rarely hear their real names, so here they are: Joe Prospero, Nick Road and Luke Spill.

Kate Winslet plays the mother and she, too, is excellent in this film. Radha Mitchell plays Barrie's wife and handles a tough situation in an interesting manner. Also in smaller-but-important roles are two big-name actors: Dustin Hoffman and Julie Christie.

I really can't find much fault with this movie except that the first 30 minutes might be a little slow. If you know that in advance and stick with it, it's a wonderful and rewarding movie experience. Except for a quick one-second outburst in the beginning, there is absolutely no offensive language and anyone of any age should be able to watch and enjoy this. Overall, it's an interesting story of how the man who wrote "Peter Pan" came to do so.
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a fairy dream...
tozzenation19 January 2005
If you enjoy something different this movie is for you, if your not into the drama category this movie is still for you. It feels like its for everyone, it gives you a touch of joy, a touch of sadness but most of all... you believe... :)

The performance of Mr Depp and Ms Winslet is absolutely astonishing, they both contribute so much to this movie and i had a hard time finding myself not believing their characters. Whole picture just grabbed me and a big kudos to the casting, the director, the cut and soundtrack was a bullseye.

What is really remarkable by this film is that in all its magic i couldn't care less if it was fiction or not. It is just that charming and it brought the inner child back within me.
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The magically told story of James M. Barrie's inspiration for writing his most popular work Peter Pan is 5 stars beyond brilliant!!!
JohnnyDeppfloatsmyboat18 January 2005
Finding Neverland is a fantastic piece of work. The acting is amazing. Johnny Depp achieves such greatness in his role as J.M. Barrie. He does such a great job of illustrating subtlety, which is not only more effective and believable, but also harder to do. Also, it doesn't have that big blockbuster feel, which means the risk of feeling like someone is shoving this story down your throat isn't present. No, there'll be no choking down of this film. It flows with the greatest of ease. Depp's sheer and utter brilliance is complemented by an amazing supporting cast consisting of Kate Winslet, who gives an awe inspiring performance as Sylvia Lewelyn Davies; Freddie Highmore, who as Peter himself,proves to the audience, that he is quite the scene stealer; Radha Mitchell as Mr. Barrie's beautiful (and lonesome, once Barrie meets the Lewelyn-Davies family)wife; and Julie Christie, as Kate Winslet's mother. The film shows Barrie's good heart, through his various acts of kindness for the Lewelyn-Davies family. He gives them what they need: a trip away from reality, but by the end, everyone in the story learns, that "you can't just go on pretending," to quote Depp as Barrie. The beautiful world Barrie has created in his limitless mind is more than just a place. It's a point of view: a state of mind. With a tear-jerking ending conversation between James Barrie and Peter, any human being with a heart will at the very least feel the souls of the characters drawn into their own hearts. It's completely absorbing and undoubtedly one of the VERY best films of the year. And finally, out of the most important lessons of all that are conveyed throughout the film, stands the one that applies to both reality and imagination: "just believe."
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One of the best movies ever! Johnny Depp is excellent!
movieking197929 March 2005
Any fans of Johnny Depp you can't miss this film. I must say also that Freddie Highmore who plays Peter is very impressive as well. He is so serious and emotional most of the film and does such an excellent job for a child actor. No wonder Johnny Depp recommended him for the role of Charlie in the upcoming "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". If I could I would give this film a 12 out of 10, I would. From beginning to end you get so into the film wondering what will happen next. It's funny, serious, heartwarming and it is a family film as well as a film for just about anyone. I have seen a lot of films in my time and even though I am not officially a film critic as far as my occupation, I most highly recommend this film to anyone. You won't be disappointed!
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A beautiful and moving peace of art
ga8213 February 2005
I understand it now. The movie on the play has to be many times more beautiful than the play itself. The play showed the beauty and freedom of magic. But the movie about the author of the play on the other hand, will show through the author's own eyes, the magic that he saw in the real world.

This is precisely what the movie has managed to achieve. It also shows that happiness can be found in just our imagination too. It shows that human beings though made cynical and calculating by the reality of the world would grab the chance to be in a world that has beauty, wonder and magic to set them free.

I have watched many movies. I barely shed a tear through any of them. This one had me sobbing. It is not all that sad. It's just beautiful.
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For ever and ever
jeffslaw12 February 2005
This film was truly magical and perhaps helped us to remember that there are truly wonderful people in the world. Neverland is an escape it is true, but could someone please show me the way to the door? Little Peter's performance was quite extraordinary and I do not seek to take anything away from Johnny Depp or Kate Winslett. Quite the first time that Julie Christie has had to take such a role (so far as I am aware). I suppose I have been in love with her since Far from the Madding Crowd...The garden backdrop in the scene before Kate's character dies has been created with enormous imagination. There really is nothing one can fairly say against this film - let the Oscars appear!
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Barrie Reassembled.
onepotato230 December 2004
When watching this movie, with it's deterministic cause and effect, wall-to-wall clichés and hackneyed sentiment, can anyone be so naive as to think that this is actually how Barrie's life played out? You watch it in a posture of disagreement. Hollywood biopics aren't based on the individual lives anymore, they're just rewrites of previously successful biopics. If Hollywood made a movie about your life it would be filled with such perfect synchronization that you'd barely recognize your own story. Any personal complexity would be obliterated by some all-explaining, simplistic backstory. Your story would resemble "Rocky" because it's the only life-arc Hollywood knows how to produce anymore. We couldn't leave the audience pondering anything left open-ended as they exit. This movie doesn't trust an audience to figure things out without being led to them. I perceived the captain hook/mother reference eons before the movie literalized it for me. I could see the 25 kids twist coming for days.

This is a completely average movie. Not horrible but not great. Hence it's likely to be showered with a few Oscars next year. There's nothing the Academy likes better than congratulating itself for finally noticing patterns put in place over the previous thirty years.

From the New Yorker article "Lost Boys" by ANTHONY LANE:

"Arthur Llewelyn Davies, also adored his boys, and it may be unfair of "Finding Neverland" to omit him, for streamlining purposes, from the scene; by the time that Johnny Depp meets Kate Winslet, she is already a widow, whereas Arthur was very much alive when Barrie first entered the consciousness—and, little by little, the home—of the Llewellyn Davies family.

"Finding Neverland" is a weepie. From the moment that Barrie met George and Jack, and started to ponder the means by which they might be rendered immortal, the story is sad, but the reality is even more dismal: 1907—Arthur Llewellyn Davies dies from cancer of the jaw. 1910—Sylvia dies of lung cancer. The five boys are orphaned; Barrie is made their guardian. 1915—George is killed in the First World War, fighting with his regiment in Flanders. 1921—Michael, an undergraduate at Oxford, is drowned while swimming with a friend. The two bodies, when recovered, are found clinging together.

On April 5, 1960, Peter Llewellyn Davies, by then an esteemed publisher, threw himself under a subway train in London. We should not presume to read a mind in torment, but we may note in passing that, if he had lived another month, he would have reached the centenary of Barrie's birth and thus, one imagines, a fresh flurry of interest in "Peter Pan"—"that terrible masterpiece," in the words of Peter Llewellyn Davies.
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Absolutely brilliant.
nathalieberntsson22 January 2006
An extraordinary and heartbreak story! One of the most unforgettably hypnotic and touching films I've ever seen, the movie is absolutely brilliant. It is not just a beautiful film, it has a touching story, quite different conditions and a magic casting. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet are brilliant, as usual. Actually both of them are my favorite actors/actresses and I'm not disappointed of their effort in this heartwarming movie, if anything, the other way round! BUT Freddie Highmore stoled my heart with his surprisingly acting! I saw Charlie and the chocolate factory before this movie, and now I'm sure that he is going to be the next big star. And he is absolutely the cutest actor in the world!

It's a fantastic movie but even more fantastically acted! It also has terrific, magnificent and glorious music. (You will find the childishness in you.) And I never thought Neverland was that beautiful.

The movie also contains some important messages. And just like Albert Einstein himself said: "imagination is more important than knowledge." And that man was smart!

You'll laugh, you'll smile and you'll cry. I highly recommend Finding Neverland to everyone. And without a doubt - you will find the childishness in you.

So.. how far can YOUR imagination take you?
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Andreas_N9 November 2005
Heart-breaking movie. Magical, inspirational, sheer brilliance. It's especially Freddie Highmore who acts so stunningly. All the boys are brilliant. This is a movie that moves anyone I guess, it has natural charm and delivers the true story of J.M. Barrie, his life and times in such a wonderful manner. I as being a writer myself could easily identify with Johnny Depp and his yearning for inspiration which he eventually found in the magic of pre-teen imagination and adventure. This symbolizes the necessity to stay true to our dreams and not to abandon childhood perceptions of magic and the simplicity of life. Again, inspirational! For the young and those young at heart. Long live the Lost Boys!
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Pure movie magic.
Boba_Fett113812 October 2005
Drama's normally always have the awful tendency of over-dramatizing moments. "Finding Neverland" is actually one of those rare movies that doesn't go over-the-top and none of the dramatic moments feel forced.

"Finding Neverland" is a biopic based on the life of play-writer J.M. Barrie, best known as the creator of Peter Pan. The story takes a few liberties with the truth, just like every good biopic always has done. There is never anything wrong with taking some liberties with the story, as long as it is good for the movie its story and main character.

The movie its story is truly magical. It shows in a beautiful way that there is a child in all of us and we should not be afraid to show that at times and stop wanting to grow up so eagerly but instead enjoy the little playful things in life. The story works because of the actors their screen chemistry and some beautiful looking sets and costumes. The movie is not all joy, there also are some dramatic moments that work really well and powerful in the movie without ever going over-the-top.

The cast is impressive; Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Freddie Highmore, Julie Christie but perhaps the most underrated actor of the movie is Dustin Hoffman. I absolutely loved him in his role and he portrayed his character extremely well. Also look out for a small part by Mackenzie Crook as the usher of the theater.

The storytelling of the movie is magnificent and is what makes "Finding Neverland" one of the best dramas of the past couple of years. It's a movie that will make you smile and perhaps also even cry. It's a movie that works extremely well on an emotional level as well as on an entertainment level. It perfectly mixes the hard reality of the real world with the bittersweet elements of the 'no-worries' imaginative world.

A real must see.

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