Writer: David Magee (Screenplay) Allan Knee (Play)
Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman, Freddie Highmore, Joe Prospero, Ian Hart, Kelly Macdonald, Mackenzie Crook
Plot: The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Welcome to Neverland
Story: Finding Neverland starts by introducing us to J.M. Barrie’s (Depp) newest play which is met by a chorus of displeasure by the audience. Looking for new inspiration he wonders around the park where he stumbles upon Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet) and her four boys Peter (Highmore), Jack, George and Michael. Barrie entertains them in the park along with his dog who he pushes them to challenge their imaginations.
Barrie continues to become friends with the Davies family and amuses the children with his wild tales, while trying to help Peter come out of his shell after his father’s death. As the story continues Barrie pushes Peter to embrace his imagination and along the way finds the perfect idea for his next play. Barrie does have the next idea planned but talking his producer Charles (Hoffman) into giving him another show along with the social question marks about his relationship with the family being questioned is just the start of the problems he must overcome to make one of the greatest stories every told.
Finding Neverland shows us how important imagination is and however bleak a situation is if we open our eyes we might be able to get through it. It is brilliantly told on how something as simple a human kindness can help people suffering with grief in a very personal way can open up to try and get through it. I may not know much about plays of the time period but this idea that Mr Barrie came up with looked like it redefined how people took the theatre experience and that is good to see. In the end this becomes ones of the most touching and easy to watch stories you will see. (8/10)
Johnny Depp: Sir James Matthew Barrie the play writer who befriends a widow and her four boys, where he gains inspiration for his greatest work. He tries to help the lives of the family while dealing with social awkwardness for the time period. Johnny got one of his Oscar nominations for this role and does a great job as the play write. (10/10)
Kate Winslet: Sylvia Llewelyn Davies the widow who along with her children befriends Mr Barrie all while she keeps her mysterious illness secret from her children. Kate does a great job as the struggling widow who knows that her time is short and tries to keep her children happy. (9/10)
Julie Christie: Mrs. Emma du Maurier the over baring mother of Sylvia who wants to help her find a new husband to help look at the boys but comes off controlling trying to push Mr Barrie away. Julie does a good job. (8/10)
Freddie Highmore: Peter Llewelyn Davies one of the children and the one that is struggling most with the loss of his father, closing himself off from the world and not letting him imagination through. Freddie does a great job in an early role for the rising star. (9/10)
Support Cast: Finding Neverland has a cast that revolves around J.M Barrie, be it his wife who feels neglected by him, the other children in the family or the people involved with the theatre work. Each member of the cast helps with the story and does a great job doing so.
Director Review: Marc Forster – Marc does a great job directing this film showing how the imagination should work and keeping everything realistic to the time period. (9/10)
Biographical: Finding Neverland is a great look at how one of the most iconic plays got written and the man behind it. (9/10)
Drama: Finding Neverland is a perfectly placed drama how the interaction between people can change lives. (9/10)
Settings: Finding Neverland has authentic looking settings throughout, that help bring us into the position the characters are in. (9/10)
Suggestion: Finding Neverland is one to watch, it really is a very special film that shows how simple making movies really are. (Watch)
Best Part: Neverland
Worst Part: I always struggle to find a bad thing to say about this film.
Funniest Scene: Dog dance.
Favourite Quote: J.M. Barrie ‘Young boys should never be sent to bed… they always wake up a day older.’
Believability: It is inspired by true events. (9/10)
Chances of Tears: You could have some by the end of the film. (5/10)
Chances of Sequel: No
Post Credits Scene: No
Oscar Chances: Won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Picture. It was also nominated for 6 more Oscar including best Actor for Johnny Depp.
Box Office: $117 Million
Budget: $25 Million
Runtime: 1 Hour 41 Minutes
Tagline: How far can your imagination take you.
Overall: Beautiful Drama From Reality to Neverland