I'm not going to be able to do this film any justice in a written review. I'll kick this off by saying that Finding Neverland is one of the best films I've seen this year and, imho, up there in my all time favourites. I may be 'fresh from the cinema' but I think my feelings for it will remain tomorrow morning when I wake up and the day after that and, well you get the idea.
Finding Neverland is based upon a play by Allan Knee which explores J.M.Barrie's inspiration behind the classic 'Peter Pan' and his life arouund the time of writing it. J.M.Barrie's (Johnny Depp) last play was a critical and commercial failure at the theatre but his ever faithful producer, American Charles Frohman (Dustin Hoffman), is prepared to give Barrie his continued support and backing for his next project.
Barrie and his wife (Radha Mitchell) are in a relationship spiralling forever downwards. There is very little communication between them and they sleep in seperate rooms. This relationship is thrown even deeper into meltdown when Barrie meets, and spends nearly every waking moment with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four sons. In the Llewelyn Davies family Barrie finds the inspiration for his new play, and it could be argued a regained youth and sense of fun that he had been lacking due to his loveless marriage. Barrie is warned off his involvement with Sylvia and her family by Sylvia's mother, Mrs Emma du Maurier (Julie Christie) and the gossip surrounding his possible attachment to the children is brought up by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Ian Hart) but nothing is implied in the film on either count.
The film plays with a mixture of 'fantasy make believe' and Barries life in the dawn of the 20th century. Some of the fantasy sequences are excellent and the film at times will make you laugh and come close to tears. The boy who played Peter Llewelyn Davies (Freddie Highmore) impressed Johnny Depp so much that he convinced Tim Burton to cast him as Charlie in 'Charlie & The Chocolate Factory' which is due out next year. Freddie Highmore is indeed a superb young actor but then you could take almost any member of this cast and heap praise on them.
It doesn't really need saying but I immensely enjoyed this film. It won't be to everyone's tastes (it is a Drama afterall) but I think a significant number of you would love this film. Go and see it. I know I will be again.
School Report: A (I believe!)