Finding Neverland

February 1st, 2005 Film, Film Reviews, Filmink

Johnny Depp claimed to be uniquely qualified for the role of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean, as the father of two young children.

It’s part of Depp’s personality he obviously had no trouble bringing to the role of J M Barrie, the playwright behind Peter Pan. It’s the ease with which he loves the innocence and sense of play in children (and the child in himself) that gives the movie most of its charm — even today when kids are still seen and not heard and grow up too quickly.

In early 20th Century London, after his last play has bombed badly, Barrie finds himself stifled of inspiration in his marriage to wannabe socialite Mary (Mitchell). He finds freedom for his imagination in the Llewellyn-Davies family of young widow Sylvia (Winslet, a beautiful and faultless performer as always) and her four boys.

Literally entering Barrie’s dreams and imaginings as he plays with the boys and draws closer to the family (and further from his own wife), we’re given a magical insight into the story of Peter Pan taking shape in his mind as he tries to navigate the adult world he doesn’t really belong in.

The sense of magic used to tell the story and readiness to use humour save it from being the stuffy, boring period drama it could have been, and while the child actors falter here and there, the adult cast — led by chameleon Depp — is without peer.


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