Finding Neverland

How is it that this movie only won a single Oscar again (and only for Original Score, at that)? J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) is a failing playwright, much to the chagrin of his producer (Dustin Hoffman), with a failing marriage with his wife, Mary (Radha Mitchell). But when he happens across a family headed by widow Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet), with four boys including the much-troubled Peter (Freddie Highmore), both his life and his imagination find a sudden spark. Even against the wishes of Sylvia's strict mother (Julie Christie), and through all the slanderous rumors against Barrie's true purposes with the family, the friendships strive on as Mr. Barrie creates his masterpiece, Peter Pan.

There's so many wonderful things about this movie. The acting is magnificent, from Johnny Depp all the way down to Freddie Highmore (I would argue that this and August Rush are his two best films). Johnny Depp is great and diverse as usual, as well. The only slight buggy bit was when he kind of dropped the accent to do a pirate accent at one point, which made it more reminiscent of Captain Jack than of a proper Scotsman. The actress that catches my attention the most, though, is Radha Mitchell, who really seems to be one heck of a diverse actress. I mean, she's played a troubled, badass ship pilot in the Sci-Fi/Horror flick Pitch Black, she's played the worried mother in the Horror film Silent Hill, and now here she is playing the snotty English woman. It's just fun to see the range she can take and still do well in (we all know Johnny Depp is pretty much the same, but I'm talking in the terms of actresses here. There aren't many actresses out there who can do these vastly different roles and pull them all off well).

     The sense of imagination/magical realism in the film is handled very nicely, as well. It isn't played up like J.M. Barrie is insane or whatnot, but simply opening his imagination and inviting everybody else to join him in doing so. My favorite bit, which really shows the contrast between characters, is when Barrie and his wife are going to bed in their separate rooms. Mary opens her door, which is just to a dark bedroom, while J.M. opens his door to a bright, flowery meadow. There's quite a bit of symbolism between reality and the imagination imagery, which is handled nicely (especially toward the end when Kate Winslet ‘Finds Neverland', so to speak).

     The music was beautiful, obviously, since it won an Oscar for it. This is really a short review, as well, because there's not much more to talk about. The movie was handled very well on all fronts, and it's a shame that it was relatively ignored. It's just a beautiful film overall.

Reviewed by: Nick
1 Comment(s)
Paul said...
Glad you reviewed this Nick, 5 stars all the way. It is unfortunate that it did not receive a lot of acclaim as it really is a great film.