Finding Neverland

Movie Review by Susan Hodgetts

Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Michell, Dustin Hoffman
Director: Marc Forster

Lovers of Peter Pan will be equally enchanted by this fairytale biopic based loosely on the life of his creator, J M Barrie.

Trapped in a mismatched marriage to Mary (Radha Mitchell) and in need of inspiration, Barrie (Johnny Depp) comes across the four Llewelyn Davies boys on a walk in the park one day with his St Bernard. He immediately befriends them and becomes enchanted by their mother, the recently widowed and extremely well connected Sylvia du Maurier (Kate Winslet). With them as his inspiration, he creates a play quite unlike anything anyone has seen before, Peter Pan. But by the time of its opening, rumours are circulating about the man’s closeness to the Llewelyn Davies family, and tragedy is around the corner.

As the quiet spoken Barrie, Depp captures both his own childishness and an adult’s wistfulness for childhood, a man longing for children not only for his art but also in his real life. Depp yet again proves that he is simply the most talented film actor on the planet and does it all with an accent from the land of the haggis.

Hoffman provides the best laughs as Barrie’s loaded patron, financier Charles Frohman, but the film suffers a little from over-indulgence and over sentimentality. Whilst families and kids will enjoy it, and although this film makes a nice change, it still felt a little formulaic and in the end it wasn’t quite as original as I would like to have hoped.

4 out of 6 stars

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