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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 36.02%
Just Average: 13.98%
Pretty Crappy: 4.84%
Sucks: 6.45%

14 reviews, 102 user ratings

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Finding Neverland
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by Elaine Perrone

"I do believe in fairies!"
5 stars

After screening P.J. Hogan's wonderful version of Peter Pan, the 100th anniversary tribute to the play, last year, I became interested in the life of its creator and did quite a bit of reading about the boy who quite literally never grew up. I learned that J.M. Barrie stopped growing at a height of about 5 ft. and went by the nickname of "Friendly Wendy," a name he of course passed on to one of his characters. By the time I attended a preview screening of FINDING NEVERLAND this summer, I knew all about Barrie's relationship with the Llewellen-Davies family, whose boys provided the inspiration for his play, Peter Pan. Allowing myself to be distracted by what I knew to be plot embellishments for the screen, I pronounced that I liked, but didn't love, the film, although I was utterly charmed by Johnny Depp's performance as the whimsical Barrie. Seeing FINDING NEVERLAND again last week, I found myself captivated from start to finish by the movie's magic, which I now declare to be perfection exactly as it is!

Regardless of the fact that Barrie was friends with both Arthur and Sylvia Llewellen-Davies in real life, what matters most to the tale is the portrayal of the joy and inspiration that this lovely, gentle man with a Scottish lilt and the Llewellen-Davies children brought to each other's lives, and that is conveyed beautifully.

I finally came to understand that it matters not one whit that Sylvia and Barrie had no hint of a romantic attraction in real life. What is important here is that the chemistry between Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp is electrifying, and it is a pleasure to watch the two of them together on screen.

Dustin Hoffman is terrific in a small role as Charles Frohman, Barrie's American producer, who initially fears that James is going to drive him into bankruptcy but who becomes as utterly enthralled as the rest of the world by the Scottish playwright's genius.

Likewise, Julie Christie is fine as the stern Mrs. du Maurier, Sylvia's mother, who might very well have been Barrie's inspiration for Captain Hook.

Filling out the supporting cast are Radha Mitchell as James' wife, Mary Ansell-Barrie, and Ian Hart as his good friend, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Before seeing the film, I had reservations about Mark Forster (Monster's Ball) as director of such a fanciful tale, but he did a fine job, eliciting wonderful performances from adults and children alike.

The film's technical aspects are breathtaking, with Edwardian London glowingly brought back to life through the lens of DP Roberto Schaefer and the lovely sets and costumes created by the design teams of Trisha Edwards and Alexandra Byrnes, all of which are complemented beautifully by the rapturous score of composer Jan A.P. Kaczmarek.

The details about J.M. Barrie's real life, including some unsavory rumors about his relationship with the Llewellen-Davies boys and his purported sexless marriage, are readily available through numerous biographical resources. His biography makes fascinating reading, and the "truth" about his sex life will probably always be shrouded in some degree of mystery. For me, in the end, those details have no part of FINDING NEVERLAND, which is a dazzling holiday entertainment to be celebrated for just exactly what it is -- a 106 minute adventure that held me under its spell as I smiled, wept, and at least for a time didn't have to grow up.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10919&reviewer=376
originally posted: 11/14/04 07:20:33
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Chicago Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Mill Valley Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Leeds Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Leeds Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/18/09 Liberty Man Great story and Depp as he should be. Enough with the pirate already. 5 stars
10/05/09 Bryony An amazing film I cry everytime lol Kate & Johnny both did an AMAZING job I love it!!! 5 stars
12/11/08 charles surmion its so cool i want to try and try... 4 stars
9/25/08 Shaun Wallner Great story! 5 stars
5/08/08 Courtney This movie is corny, boring and has expected 'twists' 1 stars
2/17/08 SamanthaP Johnny and Kate Winslet were amazing as always, and it was super sad at the end. 5 stars
9/04/07 John Just amazing 5 stars
8/11/07 Tiffany Losco Boring, I didn't like it. 2 stars
5/16/07 mia It was a sad story that contains inspiring messages 5 stars
1/15/07 jeannie karlsen Looking at Johnny Depp was enough of a reward, plot was however, boring 4 stars
11/10/06 Bill Hi all 4 stars
9/07/06 Thomas Semesky FINDING NEVERLAND! Fine me a plot first. Boring!! 2 stars
7/13/06 EZ To bad there is no 0 stars rating 1 stars
6/11/06 Dave Webber I thought this was totally maudlin and manupulative, 2 stars
5/21/06 Diane P very charming, my daughter enjoyed it as well 4 stars
5/05/06 Ashley Hinz I don't like Johnny Depp, but I enjoyed this. 4 stars
2/09/06 Samantha A nice twist for adults on the classic story, while children might find it boring 4 stars
10/14/05 Yves Caraan I didnt enjoy watching 2 stars
10/11/05 Jennifer Free You would think that it was for kids, but they were totally bored, and so was I. 3 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes perfect filmmaking at its finest 5 stars
9/14/05 Koopy the Loopy I love Kate, but this was a little too boring 3 stars
9/13/05 ray mero Two of the boys he helped raise committed suicide...the movie is a sappy and demented. 1 stars
8/25/05 EZ Let's go make make the worst play ever while talking with the worst accent possilbe 1 stars
8/19/05 Sara B. Slow to get going, at times oddly NOT engaging. Still has charm for Depp fans. 4 stars
8/12/05 yuko brilliant actors and story 5 stars
7/26/05 Laura Lee Macleod Kinda boring...but Depp is a magnificent actor 3 stars
6/17/05 Andy Far better than the professional critics suggest. Switch off the analysis, let it happen 4 stars
6/16/05 DM Sappy in places but very well-acted. 4 stars
5/28/05 Jake Good film but not oscar worthy 4 stars
5/21/05 Cham Great acting, pretty moving, way too sappy for words. 3 stars
5/05/05 Kristi Achilleos very good movie! pleasant to watch :) 4 stars
4/30/05 Steve Newman Absolutely excellent. Some moments makes you feel uneasy - awesome 5 stars
4/29/05 Charlie Crappy ending, but an interesting plot and story. 3 stars
4/28/05 kathleen4691 A great family film...for parents who want their kids to learn about extramarital affairs. 2 stars
4/22/05 Kim Great fantasy. 4 stars
4/19/05 Sharon Fernando Excellent glimpse into Peter Pan's inspiration. 4 stars
4/16/05 David Siegel Better than the professional reviews. A good background "study". 4 stars
4/08/05 Denise wonderful 5 stars
4/04/05 killbill03 If you can buy into it, you may really like it. 4 stars
3/28/05 Charlene Javier Gets better after repeated viewings... 5 stars
3/27/05 Emma Excellent, one of my favourite films. 5 stars
2/19/05 lj wouldn't see it twice 3 stars
2/18/05 Captain Craig I didnt think truly great film could be made anymore. Every aspect was suberb! 5 stars
2/15/05 Melody Arneil One of the few films of 2004 that moved me to tears. LOVED IT! 5 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Great movie, definite must see for a Peter Pan fan! 4 stars
2/10/05 H.P. Lovecraft I expected a little bit more for a best picture nominee. 3 stars
2/05/05 axe Like "Pan", better experienced in an audience with children. 4 stars
2/04/05 Melissa Johnny Depp - couldn't have been better! 5 stars
2/04/05 Ann Klonicki Johnny Depp is superb 5 stars
2/03/05 Mirella Rodriguez Who doesn't love Johnny? Great movie, great acting. 4 stars
2/03/05 craig varney can't find a better recent movie 5 stars
2/03/05 Debbi Kalstein interesting interpretation 5 stars
2/02/05 Clifford C Gardner Not great, but worth your time 4 stars
1/31/05 Danita Berg Beautiful....brought tears to my eyes. 4 stars
1/31/05 Gladys Paradowski Didn't achieve its objective, whatever that was. 2 stars
1/31/05 Lynda Eby Love Johnny Depp! 4 stars
1/31/05 Elena this was nice but everything shown was just so obvious and not deep 4 stars
1/31/05 Alison Mosbeck I don't see how anyone could NOT like this...a very imaginative film 4 stars
1/29/05 Charlene Javier Completely magical! 5 stars
1/29/05 malcolm Depp was a little too understated, but the film was great 4 stars
1/29/05 Garnet Leib So-SO 3 stars
1/29/05 Marilyn not to exciting 3 stars
1/29/05 Fred Pellerito Even though I'm a big Johnny Depp fan, this movie was nothing more than average 3 stars
1/29/05 Lisa Clarizio Johnny Depp's an excellent actor but just mediocre in this movie 2 stars
1/27/05 Roz How good is Johnny Depp?!! Charming story, great supporting cast, excellent art direction. 5 stars
1/26/05 Richard R. Lowe Better than awesome. Absolutely brilliant. 5 stars
1/15/05 Jamy I LOVE JOHNNY DEPP! He is a great actor and awsomeinseration to me in alll of his movies. 5 stars
1/14/05 green gremlin a superior "Shadowlands". Johnny Depp was simply awesome 5 stars
1/11/05 Heather Take some Kleenex 5 stars
1/09/05 KCobain A real treasure. Very powerful and emotional. 5 stars
1/05/05 Elizaveta A little too much like "Shadowlands." Still, its good but not great. 3 stars
1/05/05 Helen Bradley Poor editing too slow paced great stars failed by bad script too long 2 stars
12/29/04 The Mockingbird perhaps only too sweet for this cynical world. Wonderful acting all around 4 stars
12/26/04 efrain great movie. one of the best of 2004 5 stars
12/26/04 Suzz very fine acting; interesting storytelling 4 stars
12/13/04 A F Beautiful Film. Almost had some tears. 5 stars
12/08/04 Judy This film thrilled and moved me by its emotional honesty. 5 stars
12/07/04 Titus Nothing earth shattering, but a good (emotional) movie. 4 stars
12/05/04 Ron Cisco Moving, brought me to tears, the actor who plays 5 stars
12/03/04 Denise johnny rules 5 stars
11/26/04 Zohran Mamdani Amzing, brought me to tears! 5 stars
11/26/04 Destiny Pifer Wonderful movie! 5 stars
11/26/04 ajay good movie, but the ending went on about 10 minutes too long. 3 stars
11/26/04 Rudy Depp should have done more drugs in this film. 1 stars
11/24/04 Roger Yes, it's VERY good. 5 stars
11/24/04 T. Maj Conventional movie bio; Johnny Depp always worth watchoingnj 4 stars
11/23/04 Geoff Very good movie. Touching performances all around 4 stars
11/22/04 vagile Wonderful except for heavy handedness in last scene 5 stars
11/20/04 Kristina Williams You gotta love Johnny? 5 stars
11/19/04 kyla robertson Excellent movie. Johnny Depp is Amazing 5 stars
11/19/04 Tanaporn yes,it 's good 3 stars
11/18/04 matt wakeman Beautiful and tender. 4 stars
11/12/04 Paul Gaughan Absolutely fantastic ! I thought Winslett was brilliant as the Widow. Depp as good as ever 5 stars
11/11/04 Janet Wyatt Great drama lifted with flights of fancy. All the actors were superb. 4 stars
11/10/04 alex Disappointingly ordinary - clunky script and generally dull 2 stars
11/08/04 janyne mason i think it has a crap storyline, otherwise ok. 3 stars
11/07/04 Camdyn Nix Breath taking 5 stars
11/07/04 Emilia This film will be hailed alongside other Holiday Classics such as It's a Wonderful Life, et 5 stars
11/07/04 Karen Minton Terrific movie, Johnny Depp great 5 stars
11/07/04 Buffetblvd This film was magnificent - don't miss it!! 5 stars
11/02/04 Bronwen Johnny Depp is amazing. 5 stars
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  12-Nov-2004 (PG)
  DVD: 22-Mar-2005



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