Finding Neverland (2004)
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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!
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 consciousnessand, little by little, the homeof 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: 1907Arthur Llewellyn Davies dies from cancer of the jaw. 1910Sylvia dies of lung cancer. The five boys are orphaned; Barrie is made their guardian. 1915George is killed in the First World War, fighting with his regiment in Flanders. 1921Michael, 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.
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?
"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.