Finding Neverland - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Finding Neverland Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ August 6, 2013
A simplistic and overly-sentimental movie about Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie with great performances by Depp and Winslet but not nearly enough substance to keep the story engaging.
Super Reviewer
½ June 24, 2007
A wonderful, breezy fantasy tale concerning the inspiration behind J.M. Barrie's writing of "Peter Pan", and how a widow and her boys gave him the idea to write the story. Depp, in his best performance since 1994's "Ed Wood", is simply magnificent, proving once again that when given the right material he can be one of the best actors on the planet. The story may be a little familiar and some things are a little romanticized like Hollywood films tend to do, but the strength of Depp's performance coupled with the superb supporting cast (Kate Winslet, effortlessly incredible, as are Julie Christie and Freddy Highmore), makes this movie rise above its predictability and flaws. The ending scene is definitely tear-jerking, as director Marc Forster constructs a beautiful conclusion to his moving film.
Super Reviewer
September 12, 2011
Finding Neverland is a terrific film about author J.M Barrie's journey in creating the legendary work, Peter Pan. Starring Johnny Depp as J.M Barrie, Finding Neverland is a wonderful, well acted film with an engaging story. Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp have terrific chemistry on screen. The performances of the cast altogether are superb. Johnny Depp is perfect in the role of J.M Barrie. I felt he added a touch of innocence to the role, which was needed to make Barrie come truly alive on screen. Finding Neverland is a terrific drama film that the whole family can enjoy. A wonderful, engaging story makes this a must see film, and for those who love Barrie's work of Peter Pan, this film may appeal to you too. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and it may not be perfect, but it shows how this legendary story came into being. Finding Neverland is a terrific film that is well acted and well told. I really enjoyed this film, and I thought it was a superb drama film with many elements that can appeal to people of all ages. The film is sad, whimsical and is really a perfect film that you can watch as a family. The cast elevate this film from being just another biopic or real life drama, and they make it truly something special and memorable.
Super Reviewer
June 8, 2010
It was okay.
Super Reviewer
June 23, 2011
A great and heart wrenching film!
Super Reviewer
½ June 8, 2011
It's a good drama, but a very obvious one. What other themes would you explore in a movie that pays tribute to Barrie finding inspiration to write Peter Pan? How would you resolve it? You probably already know.

Lots of people are praising Depp but it's his repertoire with Highmore's character that's the real center stage of the film. His attempts to show the boys the merits of innocence as reality comes caving in on all sides is handled remarkably gracefully.

The most visually engaging parts were the scene switches between imagination/reality, I wish Forster had the directive courage to really use those elements stronger through out the film than he did.

All in all, a really delicate film that either hits the right emotional notes or comes off as a shallow fluff piece.
Super Reviewer
½ November 19, 2009
It's hard to really evaluate Finding Neverland. On the one hand, it's nothing we haven't seen before. However, it stands above the plethora of Miramax movies that take the biopic genre and blend it it with fiction. Comparing it to something like Shakespeare in Love results in me wanting to give this a flawless five star rating. This does everything it sets out to do; show an accurate depiction of J.M. Barrie's inspiration and process of writing Peter Pan. I like that this doesn't try to cover the entire life of the writer or cram in a lot of unnecessary characters or subplots. This is extremely straight-forward. Of course the main attraction here is the acting. Johnny Depp assumes the role of the beloved writer with ease and even goes further with a tour de force performance.
Super Reviewer
April 24, 2011
Peter Pan is an icon, and icon that children should never grow up. For me I play with my cousins who are very yound all the time, and this movie shows you you are never to old too grow up. This movie is not only the historical backround of Peter pan, but it is a fantasy movie itself. The music in this movie is phenomenal, and deserved the Oscars. Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet are great, but Depp deserves more credit. This movie is the most magical and wonderful fantasy Ive seen in a long time, and deserves more fame than it has.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2006
I like whimsy and fantasy, but this really didn't click for me. I couldn't get into it, and it just came off as flase and hollow. The story is an interesting one, and deserved to be made, but it should have been far better than this. I mostly fault David Magee screenplay and Marc Forster's direction. I like how Forster constantly jumps from genre to genre, always trying to do something new, but I think he might be better off picking just one genre and sticking with it. This movie just seems all over the map both tonally and with it's aims.

The film looks great, as do the costumes, set pieces and camera work, but the music is a bit too sappy and it boggles the mind how so many people think this film is amazing. Granted, I sometimes love stuff that others hate, but still. The film feels like it is trying to hard to be important and precious, but the justification just isn't there. That, and the film is boring. How this happened is beyond me. A fun and inspiring story like this shouldn't be draggy and boring.

I did like some of the acting though. Hoffman elevated things, and Kelly Macdonald as Peter Pan was a great touch. I kind of liked how Depp actually dialed it down here instead of being wildly over hte top like so many of his other performances, but this is a case where I think he shouldn't have been quite as restrained. I'm not saying go nuts, but maybe be a little more eccentric. He did great with the accent though. I love Kate Winslet, and she's not bad here, but she's really not given a whole lot to do, and that's a shame. Because of this, maybe they should have cast a lesser known. I'm all for well knowns scaling it back and not always taking the spotlight, but she looks bored. A collaboration between her and Depp should have been wonderful, not a fizzley let down. I will say that Freddie Highmore is dynamite here. Hell, he's pretty much the highlight, and, given who else is in this, that really says something about the mediocrity. Great actors aren't supposed to be outshined by children (unless the children are just as excellent).

I've spent more time talking about this than I should have. Look, the film's not terrible, it's just boring, cliched, predictable, and a shallow retread of something that's been seen many times before and better.
Super Reviewer
June 30, 2007
"Just pretending? You brought pretending into this family, James."

Finding Neverland is a story about the London-based playwright James Barrie, and the special family that inspired him to write his timeless masterpiece, Peter Pan, over the course of a summer. It's a cute and charming movie, but not really the kind that I go for.

Johnny Depp stars as Barrie, and gives a solid performance as the imaginative, yet frustrated, playwright. He seems to have wonderful chemistry with the young actors that he shares so many scenes with, and his interactions with his distant wife (Radha Mitchell) are suitably strained. I thought that Winslet was also good in her small role, as the widowed mother who occasionally seems more like a background character, but begins to add more to the movie towards the end.

Finding Neverland is a good family film, and people who loved Peter Pan as children (or as adults) will probably love it. I thought it was a solid, it just didn't connect with me as much as I suspect it will with others. Despite the unremarkable rating I gave it, I have no qualms about recommending it to anyone who has an interest.
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2010
Very cheerful and contemporary. Loved the whole thing.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2010
It was extremely powerful for a family film, but it should only be watched once, because there are plenty of surprises that will wear out over time!
Super Reviewer
January 15, 2007
Finding Neverland is icky. It's whitewashed past the point of any personality or challenge, narratively mechanical, and frighteningly manipulative of the story's reality. You know, like how the kids' father didn't actually die before JM Barrie had met them. And how he definitely had a thing for Evelyn, not just a simple friendship, right down to the planned engagement. None of that matters here though, because we're supposed to accept Barrie as saint and savior, a sort of real-life Peter Pan as it were, so what you get is Johnny Depp playing a man who the movie can't find any fault with. It doesn't even matter that he ignores his wife after she asks him not to - but don't worry, she forgives him for it. Of course. In the tradition of fucked-up Oscar nominations, he naturally picked up one for this, by far the least challenging work of his career. Secret Window was more of an actorly stretch than this. Kate Winslet, similarly, has nothing to do but cough and look bleary. The movie has a few scattered virtues, like Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman and its handsomely restrained visual composition (not the score, which is overdone and WON the goddamn Oscar), but I doubt that fans of any of this will be willing to lay down 100 minutes of their life for a frustratingly hollow "emotional experience."
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2007
Absolutely phenomenal...Really enjoyed the way they edited together scenes that required the characters to use their imagination. Wish I had gotten around to watching this one sooner!
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2009
peter pan has been one of the most well-known stories throughout all of time. this very different take on the legend of the boy who wouldn't grow is heart melting, to say the least. johnny depp is perfect in his laid back style while kate winslet holds the audience in rapture from her first sentence.
Super Reviewer
January 7, 2007
OMG -- What a powerful movie -- I'm 62 and I still remember my father's death years ago -- this brought back all those memories for me SUCH a tender movie -- Julie Christie was EXCELLENT -- Better than in Dr Zhivago!
Super Reviewer
½ December 17, 2008
"Unlock your imagination."

The story of J.M. Barrie's friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.

The storyline is very good. From the onset the sequence of introduction of characters to unfolding is at an engaging pace. The conflict and build up of tension is superbly done. The foci of the plot are masterfully followed, described and pushed along by succinct but substantial dialogue. After all characters are in place, the genius and delightfulness of the main character (James Barrie) is presented in both personal character and his artistic child, the play Peter Pan. The use of medium and tight close-ups to register the emotional charge of the plot is just so well crafted.

The casting is close to perfect. Johnny Depp's restrained James Barrie is a good anchor portrayal. Kate Winslet is so totally believable as the disabled artist. Freddie as Peter almost steals the show from everybody. Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman as doyens of the medium strengthen the movie by not overpowering their roles.
Super Reviewer
½ August 20, 2007
A sweet (if not idealized) version of the creation of Peter Pan. Kate Winslet is sublime as always, and Johnny Depp does a surprisingly good Scottish brogue.
Super Reviewer
January 30, 2009
Finding Neverland is the story of one magical summer in life of J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and the Davies family (mothered by Kate Winslet). Why's that summer so magical? It's the summer that the Davies boys inspired Barrie to write a play called Peter Pan.

The film is a great biopic in an era when everyone was throwing a biopic out every week, leading this one to get kind of buried under films like Ray and Walk The Line. Depp ones again proves that he's possibly our generations Marlon Brando in the role of the Scottish screenwriter and the boys play, well, boys led by Freddy Highmore as the namesake of Barrie's play.

The visuals are stunning and the take the film goes with on showing us the imagination of Barrie and the "lost boys" gives the film a more feeling that helps the viewer relate to what's going on in their heads.

Don't go into this film thinking your going to see "The Making of Peter Pan". You're going in to see a story about that one magical summer where they never had to grow up. Barrie just happened to write a play afterward.
Super Reviewer
½ March 17, 2007
Finding Neverland tells the story of playwright J.M. Barrie who finds an escape from his loveless marriage to a joyless social climber and inspiration for his classic work Peter Pan in a young widow and her four sons. Both an interesting and lavishly produced period piece and love letter to the joys of the imagination, this film is a deeply charming and affecting tale judged to perfection by all concerned. The costumes and cinematography are beautiful and the representations on screen of Barrie's imaginary world are lovely to look at. The story by its nature is a little sentimental, but it never feels contrived because of sensitive performances by a quality ensemble cast. Johnny Depp is at his most likable and his understated relationship with Kate Winslet is both believable and moving. Dustin Hoffman's supporting performance as a skeptical producer also deserves a mention and he brings some light relief and laughs to an otherwise tear jerking story. But most of all it brings a sense of wonder and magic to the screen that is rarely pulled of with this level of success.
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