Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie
Christie, Dustin Hoffman
RunTime: 1 hr 41 mins
Released By: Golden Village
Released Date: 27 Feb 2005
(Courtesy from GV):
The boundless imagination of the man behind “Peter Pan”
and the poignancy of his journey combine in this emotional
tale inspired by events in the life of Scottish author James
Matthew Barrie. In FINDING NEVERLAND, director Marc Forster
(“Monster’s Ball”) and an accomplished cast
including Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman and Julie
Christie take a fictional look at the creation of “Peter
Pan,” the classic of children’s literature that
speaks directly to the child in all of us. FINDING NEVERLAND
traverses both fantasy and everyday reality, melding the difficulties
and heartbreak of adult life with the spellbinding allure
and childlike innocence of the boy who never grows up.
all begins as successful Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie (DEPP)
watches his latest play open to a ho-hum reaction among the
polite society of Edwardian England. A literary genius of
his times but bored by the same old themes, Barrie is clearly
in need of some serious inspiration. Unexpectedly, he finds
it one day during his daily walk with his St. Bernard Porthos
in London’s Kensington Gardens. There, Barrie encounters
the Llewelyn Davies family: four fatherless boys and their
beautiful, recently widowed mother (WINSLET).
the disapproval of the boys’ steely grandmother Emma
du Maurier (CHRISTIE) and the resentment of his own wife (RADHA
MITCHELL), Barrie befriends the family, engaging the boys
in tricks, disguises, games and sheer mischief, creating play-worlds
of castles and kings, cowboys and Indians, pirates and castaways.
He transforms hillsides into galleon ships, sticks into mighty
swords, kites into enchanted fairies and the Llewelyn Davies
boys into “The Lost Boys of Neverland.”
the sheer thrills and adventurousness of childhood will come
Barrie’s most daring and renowned masterwork, “Peter
Pan.” At first, his theatrical company is skeptical.
While his loyal producer Charles Frohman (HOFFMAN) worries
he’ll lose his shirt on this children’s fantasy,
Barrie begins rehearsals only to shock his actors with such
unprecedented requests as asking them to fly across the stage,
talk to fairies made out of light and don dog and crocodile
just as Barrie is ready to introduce the world to “Peter
Pan,” a tragic twist of fate will make the writer and
those he loves most understand just what it means to really
Ever since “Peter Pan” was first presented to
the World at the London’s Duke of York’s Theatre
on December 27, 1904, the story of “The Boy Who wouldn’t
Grow Up” have been avidly emulated into countless novels,
literature text, movies, play and musical. Peter Pan has even
become the icon of household products, including peanut butter!
Celebrating its 100th anniversary in December 2004, it makes
one wonder what took the filmmakers so long to tell the story
of its creator, Sir James Mathew Barrie.
from award-winning playwright Allan Knee’s stage play
“The Man Who Was Peter Pan”, “Finding Neverland”
told the publicly-deplored relationship between Sir J.M. Barrie
(Johnny Depp) and the Llewelyn Davis family of four fatherless
boys and a modestly-ravishing widowed mother, Sylvia (Kate
Winslet). The side-plots includes Barrie’s deteriorating
creativity to appease the audience with another astonishing
work, all thanks to the un-intriguing spouse, Mary Ansell
Barrie (Radha Mitchelle).
when you thought the story is heading towards a conventional
love story, the film instead turns its focal point on Barrie’s
views of childhood that goes on to inspire him to create the
beloved fairy tale of all time.
the story of Peter Pan, Barrie touted the innocents and joy
experienced during childhood should not be left behind. Our
World is fast becoming a place where children are forced to
excel accordingly to what the adults wanted. This has devastated
their playtime, depriving them from the wonders of childhood
experiences. Though Barrie is long gone, his renowned work
will always be there to remind us the importance to maintain
childlike innocence to imagine, to dream and to believe even
in adverse situation. Neverland, though is frictional, gives
many hopes and comforts during bad times.
the role of Sir J.M. Barrie, there could never be a more suitable
contender than Johnny Depp. His performance in this film had
earned him the third Best Actor Golden Globe nomination. It
was said that Sir J.M Barrie had a boyish appearance and was
soft-spoken hence Depp’s boyish appearance was suitable
enough for him to assume the role. Unfortunately, the polite
and kept mannerism of the role failed to make Depp another
Best Actor winner of the Golden Globe.
opposite Depp was multiple Golden Globe nominees, Kate Winslet.
Weary in her looks with minimal makeup and hairdo, Kate Winslet
still looks gorgeous in the movie. She is convincing enough
as the widow mother, Silvia, who were drained with the daunting
tasks of taking care of four boys and running the house chores
alone. However, as the plot focus mainly on the creation of
Peter Pan, her role became more of an ornament.
most commendable performance however, could be from Freddie
Highmore, who plays Peter Llewelyn-Davis. In spite of his
young age, Highmore’s performance is simply magical!
His short screen appearance does not hinder him to captivate
audience with a mysterious and temperamental Peter Llewelyn-Davis.
Probably this is the only character besides Johnny Depp that
most would definitely enjoy watching.
a dream-cast including Dustin Hoffman and Julie Christie,
the movie however, is sluggish in its pace and had failed
to entice audience unlike the magic of “Peter Pan”.
Nevertheless, the imaginative and often exhilarating exploration
into Barrie’s mind, and the moving concluding scene
of Barrie’s conversation with Peter Llewelyn-Davis had
gained more points from the critics.
finishing off with this review, here are some saddening "off-screen"
facts to share about the Llewelyn Davis boys:
J.M. Barrie later became the unofficial guardian of the five
Llewelyn Davies boys, who were then aged seven to seventeen.
Though under the care and attention of Barrie, their lives
as grown-ups were fraught with tragedy. George was killed
in the trenches during World War I; Michael, who wanted to
write like Barrie, drowned at age 20 while studying at Oxford;
and Peter, who inspired the name “Peter Pan”,
committed suicide at the age of 63. None are alive today.
by Leosen Teo