How fitting for a film based on the inception of Peter Pan to be so enchanting, charming, and just all-around magical. Based itself on the play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan", Marc Forster's heavy emphasis on sentimentality and wonder in Finding Neverland will be cloying for some, but it fits this story very well, and even makes certain character moments hit that much harder. The film is anchored by one of Johnny Depp's finest roles in his expansive career (and one of his Oscar nominated performances): here, he ditches the wacky hairstyles and makeup that he's so known for in favor of a sublime and subdued performance, even with his clearly non-native Scottish accent. At a point, Depp completely embodies the loving mannerisms of J.M. Barrie, often to the point of completely losing himself in the role. Depp has a history of playing childlike characters, sometimes to the point of being overblown, but here, it's just the right amount of seriousness and silliness. Alongside him is a charming performance from Kate Winslet, as well as four pretty solid child performances from her onscreen sons: Freddie Highmore in particular is a standout.
Anyone who finds too much sentimentality to be a turn-off won't find Finding Neverland to be anything worthwhile, but those who don't mind a strong heaping of wonder will be completely engrossed in this film's charm, and the ending will truly hit home. Certainly well earning in its Best Picture nomination.