Film: Finding Neverland
Cast includes: Jonny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman
Genre: Historic based light drama
In brief: Finding Neverland is based loosely on the actual events in the life of J.M. Barrie, during the time he conceived and developed his most famous play, Peter Pan. The film, set in 1904 London, opens as Barrie is experiencing one of his first-night theatrical flops. But life goes on, and after licking his wounds, Barrie has to get back to work. Hoping for inspiration, he heads off to the park with his dog and his journal. In the park, he meets the Davies family with four charming boys, including Peter. Mom is trying to hold things together after the death of her husband. The boys are also having trouble getting over the loss. It’s not hard to see how the puzzle pieces fit together. Eventually, Barrie’s journal notes evolve into the much beloved play, Peter Pan… but not without some life-changing events along the way… not totally what you’re thinking.
This is a beautifully filmed modern classic directed by Marc Foster, the director of Gods and Monster. You should know that the versions of Peter Pan that most of us are familiar with is the post WWII version, which is a story for children. However, the original version was intended for adults and dealt much more directly with darker topics, such as death… a common occurrence in many young families at the time. While this film shows us the sweet side of Neverland, it also shows us the dark side.
An interesting footnote: While not everything that J.M. Barrie wrote was a great success, he was widely published from an early age and had enough successes that he lived quite comfortably. It seams that he did in fact have a special regard for children. And in 1928, he donated the copyright for Peter Pan to a children’s hospital in London. Later, even though British copyrights run out after a certain number of years, the British government voted to extend the copyright of Peter Pan indefinitely.
3 popped kernels
Popped kernels for the interesting story, good historical interest, good acting and production values.