It's 1904 and playwright J.M.
Barrie (Johnny Depp) has just watched his latest play bomb. Suffering
from writer's block, he retreats to the park
to try to get some work done. He happens across Sylvia Llewellyn-Davies
(Kate Winslet) and her four boys playing in the park. Barrie becomes enamoured
with the boys and their mother. The catch is that he's married to the
cold Mary (Rahda Mitchell). In Sylvia and her boys, he finds a conduit
for his imagination and, in the process, comes the inspiration for his
most successful play, "Peter Pan."
Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, and
Barrie's attention to a woman
to which he's not married and his infatuation with children's games
might seem a little strange and the movie acknowledges
that fact -- albeit with little more than a nod -- but, overall, the movie
shows that he's not a creep but a genuinely sweet, if odd, character who
really did care for these people. With any movie that's "inspired
by actual events," the story does play a little fast and loose with
the facts but, overall, the changes make the story more moving than it
might be otherwise.
Johnny Depp's performance is quiet and gentle but effective. He continues
to amaze in his varied career. While not as spectacular as his work in
Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, or even Ed
it shows yet another side of an actor who continues to rack up one good
movie after another.
Kate Winslet and the boys who
play her children (especially Freddie Highmore as Peter) serve up their
roles with appropriate gusto. Dustin Hoffman
is nice and droll as Barrie's producer, who's doubtful that "Peter
Pan" is what the theater-going public wants to see when they're out
for a night on the town.
All-in-all, Finding Neverland is a by-the-numbers bio picture with a
refreshing dose of fantasy thrown in to save it from being too predictible.
It does serve as a reminder that things that are child-like don't necessarily
have to be childish and that's not a bad thing at all.
the formal dinner scene, Johnny Depp placed a "fart machine" under
Julie Christie's chair. He had a remote control that he used to trigger
a fart sound from the device. The children are laughing more at that
than from playing with the spoons. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)