Neverwas - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Neverwas Reviews

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Super Reviewer
August 22, 2009
Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Ian McKellen, William Hurt, Ken Roberts, Bill Bellamy, Michael Moriarty, Brittany Murphy, Jessica Lange, Alan Cumming, Nick Nolte

Director: Joshua Michael Stern

Summary: After taking a job at the mental institution that once housed his father (Nick Nolte) -- a famous children's author -- erudite psychiatrist Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) befriends a schizophrenic (Ian McKellen) who unlocks a string of family secrets.

My Thoughts: "The film is a struggle of insanity and what is real. Ian McKellen is brilliant in his role. You get so caught up in his character that you start to question if his insanity is truly a reality.
There are a lot of great supporting actors in this film as well. I was pleasantly surprised at how well Brittany Murphy was in this. All the roles I see her in lately are so dark and lacking good acting from her part. But she was full of life in this film, and I liked seeing her that way.
Aaron Eckhart is a character that maybe some can relate to in the sense of him still missing and mourning his father after so many years. I thought he was great.
The story may be predictable for some, but just try not to analyze it so much. Just let yourself get swept up in the story. It's a heart warming tale that is also sad and dark at times. It's a great story that should be seen."
Super Reviewer
½ October 14, 2010
I really enjoyed this movie. I got a little confused about what was happening from time to time, but I think in the end it all kind of came together for me. I really think that Ian McKellan and Aaron Eckhart are very fine actors, and definitely made this movie worth watching.
Super Reviewer
April 22, 2008
A whole lot of talented people in a film that really never goes anywhere.
Super Reviewer
December 27, 2009
I don't know where eabrownfield (reviewer) gets off telling people to "stay away" from Neverwas. This is a magical, and very touching story.

An excellent premise with a superb cast and stellar performances from all involved. The scenic settings were well shot and lit, often showing the differences between the dark and lighter sides of life.

I say dark, yes there are parts in this film that are hard hitting, poinient moments that really make you think and get you inside the characters being played, again i think this is down to the great acting.

The flip side is the fairy tale narrative that runs through the whole film, not that it turns in to a children's film at all, as its a story I'm sure many can relate to and will enjoy being told in this fashion. I will say it probably deserves its pg13 rating, its perhaps not for the very young, despite its fairy tale like appearance.

Overall go and see this film, you wont be disappointed, i had a great time.
Super Reviewer
March 10, 2008
Fun movie. I liked Ian Mckellen's hobo-castle.
Super Reviewer
September 24, 2008
I hate when a drama is structured like a thriller mystery, especially when it is so "oh, DOH! you didn't need to reiterate that AGAIN" as this film is. If it cut the crap and recognized that most of the audience is aware of the many upcoming "plot twists" far before they happen, this could be a truly outstanding drama. Instead, it treats the viewers like children, like this movie was marketed to unintelligent eight year olds.

Dissing done, this is full of power actors giving great performances, with the spotlight on Sir McKellen. Jessica Lange and Nick Nolte are particularly stunning in their supportive roles. I'm still not sure of Brittany Murphy's abilities, and Eckhart seems like he's on auto-pilot most of the film.

The art and production design is absolutely stunning, especially during the last reel. The clinic setting in particular looks and feels like a real clinic, which is tough for films set in psychiatric wards.

I wish I could rate this movie higher, but it comes down to script structure and dialogue here. As I've explained, the movie is far too obvious and repetitive, though the central story is quite compelling and offers an *interesting* suggestion to writers searching for rich material.
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2008
[font=Century Gothic]"Neverwas" starts with Zach Riley(Aaron Eckhart) returning to upstate New York as a psychiatrist applying for a job at a rundown psychiatric hospital. At first, the head doctor(William Hurt) is hesitant but Zach wins him over, and is granted one month's probation. At the first group therapy meeting he presides over, Zach has an instant success with a patient, Gabriel(Ian McKellen), who has been in and out of institutions for the past forty years. In a nearby pub, he reconnects with a childhood friend, Maggie(Brittany Murphy), who is a big fan of the highly successful children's fantasy book his father(Nick Nolte) wrote.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"Neverwas" is an engaging movie that is ably performed by a great cast, especially Ian McKellen who is magnificent as always. But there is one awkward subplot and some of the events in the hospital, especially the group therapy, do feel rushed over, but the ending makes sense of it all, tying it all together with a resoundingly beautiful climax. Overall, the movie is concerned with a man who is trying to come to terms with and understand the father he barely knew, having died when he was only a child, while at the same time having to share him with the entire world.[/font]
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2010
Aaron Eckhart plays Dr. Zachary, is a talented young psychiatrist attempting to understand the nature of his father's (Nick Nolte) madness which resulted in a successful suidice. He takes a position at a mental institution where his father had been hospitalized. There he meets and becomes friends with an old man, Gabriel (Ian McKellan), who knew his father while they were both inmates. He comes to realize that the old man's delusion was the basis for his father's inspiration as a children's fantasy writer. Jessica Lange plays Zack's bruised alcoholic mother who can't forget her dead husband, Brittany Murphy is the reporter obsessed with the kid of the brilliant author of a children's book entitled Neverwas. William Hurt appears as the hospital's administrator. A lot of big names here including Alan Cummings and Vera Farmiga as patients of the institution in this formidable cast. At the end of the movie I was perplexed though at what exactly was reality and insanity....perhaps I need to look at it again.
Super Reviewer
April 27, 2011
Neverwas takes you on this wonderful and emotional ride with a fantastic story and a extraordinary cast.
Super Reviewer
½ September 14, 2008
This movie was excellent. The entire cast was great, even Brittany Murphy, who I normally can't stand. Very touching, and I very much enjoyed it.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2007
Don't be fooled by the box art, this is not a fairy tale or a kids movie. It is however a trite and nauseating film, with a very shallow look at mental illness at its core.
½ December 3, 2013
My Review: 7/10
Date: 12/3/2013
Neverwas is a fun movie. I liked the premise of the story - tying a man's search for his past and his father's mental illness with the fairy tale his father created. There are a ton of big name actors in this and they do a good job, especially Ian McKellan. It was touching, but at times a little over dramatic and not as magical as it could have been. I am surprised that it was a straight to DVD movie. It's definitely worth a watch.
December 12, 2012
Despite all the bad reviews, I found this movie to be unbelievably charming. Ian McKellen is perfect in his role, and Aaron Eckhart is as likeable as ever. It's a great character study and full of charm, and I'm really glad I decided to give it a chance.
February 1, 2012
A surpriseing little movie that was done really well. The story was really good and the acting also.

I had passed this up many times thinking it would be just another fantasy but it's more then that. HArdly any fantasy in it at all but one you'll have to watch to judge for yourself.

Mckellen does a very good job in this and the supporting cast helps with everything.

A nice little film about a story and what to believe.
September 23, 2008
What is real? What is normal? And are you really sure? Not exactly a fairy tale. Was it a shared illusion, a shared vision, or a shared wish? The acting is excellent; the story is interesting; the photography compelling; the music complementary. A fine movie.
½ February 26, 2008
I went into this expecting something a little more whimsical. The description made it sound like a fantasy movie. It was a smidge more depressing. Mostly what I took away from the experience is that Ian McKellen was crazy, Nick Nolte loved to yell, and Aaron Eckhart is one heck of a crier. Not horrible, but not very captivating either.
April 27, 2008
The dark doppelganger of Spiderwick Chronicles, this film could easily be the other half of the aforementioned. I could see both films as the alternate side of a ying and yang coin. First the title and name of the magical world, Neverwas, notice even the name of the world is even metaphorically alluding to the reality or non reality of the realm. Is it real, or is it merely the conjurings of a dillusional man (Ian McKellen) wanting a bit of magic in the this dull world. This film is even complete with the scribblings of the book, colorful illustrations, bits of feathers and fairies, maps of the forests, etc. The high contrast color palatte is also rich, but the subject matter is definately the darker and more "real world" based look at the phsychology of Neverwas's creator. However, this film's premise falls flat towards the end. Aaron Eckhart's charcter was trying to discover more of why his father went mad, and that is never really fully explained. This film could have been a bit better, but maybe we just prefer the wonder and joy of the happier alter ego, Spiderwick, than to this sullen and flat forgotten brother.
January 24, 2008
I wanted to love this film, but it falls just short. spectacular visuals and Brittany Murphy was not bad. Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange both play their parts just at and not over dramatic. All in all ~worth a view .
January 25, 2008
I just wish they would have dove further into the magic of Neverwas. Good film, but it needed a little more.
January 4, 2008
I found this movie one that challenges our concepts of what is acceptable normal behavior and the fine line between fact and fiction... Reminded me of what my college Professor use to ask at the beginning of each class.." Do you know what normal is? Are you sure? Really sure? Where do we draw the line on what to believe and not? Just because we have not experienced something, does that make it any less real for the person who claims they have?".. Neverwas attacks these issues and shatters the status quo surprisingly well.
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