Neverwas (2005)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

A man seeks to unlock the mysteries of his family's tragic past in this drama. Zach Riley (Aaron Eckhart) is a psychiatrist who has resigned a prestigious position at a major university to take a job at the Millwood Clinic, a private residential facility run by one Dr. Reed (William Hurt). Riley tells Reed he was inspired to come to Millwood by the case of a family friend who was a patient there years before, but what Riley doesn't mention is the person in question was his father, T.L. Pierson (Nick Nolte), a successful but reclusive children's author whose book "Neverwas" became a remarkable critical and popular success. For all his talent and success, Pierson was haunted by mental illness and drug addiction, and after leaving Millwood he committed suicide, with young Zach finding the body. Ever since, his mother (Jessica Lange) has been bitter and blamed Zach for Pierson's death, and he's come to Millbrook looking for answers and closure regarding his dad. While working with the patients at Millwood, Riley strikes up a friendship with Gabriel (Ian McKellen), a charming older man with a poor connection to reality who was friendly with Pierson when they were both in treatment there; Riley also renews his childhood friendship with Maggie Blake (Brittany Murphy), a Millwood intern who was powerfully affected by "Neverwas" when she was young. Neverwas is the first feature film from writer and director Joshua Michael Stern.
PG-13 (for thematic issues)
Drama , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Senator Film


Aaron Eckhart
as Zach Riley
Ian McKellen
as Gabriel Finch
Brittany Murphy
as Maggie Blake
William Hurt
as Dr. Peter Reed
Nick Nolte
as T.L. Pierson
Jessica Lange
as Katherine Pierson
Bill Bellamy
as Martin Sands
Vera Farmiga
as Eleanna
Ryan Drescher
as Young Zach
Suzanne Bastien
as Junior Editor
Tim Henry
as Sherrif Williams
Camille Sullivan
as Young Catherine Pierson
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Neverwas

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (1)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 5, 2007
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

This is the kind of movie where a madwoman's outburst leads her to throw a mug that just happens to be filled with gold sparkles -- which can then be photographed cascading down on all the adorable loonies, in slow-motion.

Full Review… | September 20, 2005
Top Critic

At a time when most films lack subtlety, it is rare to find one as delicate, wistful and tender as 'Neverwas.'

Full Review… | June 21, 2008
Laramie Movie Scope

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | August 3, 2007

Indeed, when one looks at Neverwas overall, it's not really a movie about people. It's about pawns in a massive game of three-tiered cinematic chess.

Full Review… | July 13, 2007
DVD Verdict

Perhaps due to the movie's failure to get a theatrical release, the only extra on the disc is a trio of movie trailers.

July 4, 2007
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Neverwas

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


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.

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer

A whole lot of talented people in a film that really never goes anywhere.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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