Finding Neverland Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.