A well-educated psychiatrist leaves an academic career to work at an institution where his father, a novelist, lived before writing a renowned children's book. Acclimating to his position, he encounters a schizophrenic who helps him to discover the book's secrets and his place in the story.
- Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) is a psychiatrist, who leaves a job at a prestigious university, to take up a job at the privately run mental institution, 'Millwood', belonging to Dr. Reed (William Hurt). What he doesnt reveal at the time of his appointment is that this was the very place where his novelist father, T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte), spent many years of his life, and later wrote a popular childrens classic, Neverwas.
Once there, he meets a schizophrenic patient, Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellen), and soon finds that more things linking him to the story, and to the book than he ever thought, and also to the recovery of the patient, who believes himself to be a character from the tale