her in your imagination"
With his last play a resounding flop, renowned
playwright J.M. Barrie (Depp) needs some inspiration for his next venture. He
finds it in the park when he meets the Llewelyn-Davis brothers and their recently
widowed mother Sylvia (Winslet). Watching them play and encouraging the development
of their imaginations, he spends more time with the family than he does with his
wife (Mitchell) with begins to cause some what of a scandal in polite circles.
But the family are his muse and from that interaction comes a play about a boy
who would never grow up and lived in a place called Neverland.
knows the story of Peter Pan but do you know how playwright J.M. Barrie imaged
This is the story behind the play, which in parts
is just as magical as the tale of the boy who refused to grow up. Based on the
real events that shaped Barrie's writing of 'Peter Pan', finding Neverland explores
the relationship between the playwright and the Llewelyn-Davis family. These are
some of the most joyous and traumatic times in Barrie's life but from this he
produced one of the most loved children's stories ever written. Here we see him
rediscover his passion for life by remembering what it was like to be a child
with a limitless imagination.
As Barrie is transformed by
meeting the family, so are the Llewelyn-Davis'. Sylvia finds a companion and confidant
in Barrie, as she opens herself up to life again after the death of her husband
but it is the children that benefit most from the playwright entering into their
lives. Through encouragement, play and imagination he brings the four boys out
of their grieve and allows them to life again. All of this produces an uplifting
story that will warm even the coldest heart.
The cast do an
excellent job in bringing this heart-warming tale to the silver screen. Johnny
Depp is one of the best character actors working in cinema today and his portrayal
of J.M. Barrie is no exception to the rule. Depp is in his element here, playing
the slightly eccentric author with a great gusto and passion for the role. He
is at his best during while interaction with the children, as he becomes the characters
in their games of Pirates and Cowboys and Indians. Kate Winslet is also good as
Sylvia Llewelyn-Davis, bringing a sense of pride and dignity to a woman that is
struggling to cope with bring up four young boys on her own. Radha Mitchell continues
to make a name for herself, with another fine performance as J.M. Barrie's beleaguered
and ignored wife Mary. Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman bring some class to their
small supporting roles as Sylvia's mother Mrs. du Maurier and Barrie Theatre backer
In very important roles for the piece, the
children are very watchable and not at all annoying in the slightest. It is very
easy for child actors to be overly emotional and cringe-worthy but these for fine
young actors are more than up for the challenge. Of the four Freddie Highmore
is the highlight as Peter Llewelyn-Davis, the one son who is finding it the most
difficult accepting the death of his father. It is the interaction between him
and Depp that is the main focal point of the movie and without an outstanding
performance, the movie could have so easily have fallen flat.
Neverland is a fascinating insight into the life of one of the literary greats.
Beautifully shot by director Marc Foster, who combines reality with imagination
exquisitely, and superbly acted by the cast, this is a magical film that instantly
warms the heart as you realise that Neverland is only a thought away.
Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, the transfer is extremely good. 1900s London and the magic
of Neverland are lovingly realised on screen via a vividly sharp picture.
The sound quality is also first rate, filling the speakers with sounds of
J.M. Barrie's imagination.
Director Marc Forster, producer Richard Gladstien and writer David Magee
provide you with an abundance of behind the scenes gossip from 'Finding
Neverland'. This chatty and informative commentary covers many aspects of
the film's production. They reveal the many titles for the movie and what
actually happened and the artist licence taken with some of the story elements.
Casting and the characters are also discussed as well as recreating the
locations and settings for the 1900s London drama. This is a good commentary
that works well with the three contributors to create a chatty and fun track.
The Magic of 'Finding Neverland' (16.07 mins)
Director Marc Forster, producer Richard Gladstien, writer David Magee, author
Andrew Birkin and stars Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, Radha
Mitchell, Joe Prospero and Nick Roud talk about working on 'Finding Neverland'.
Looking at the life of renowned playwright J.M. Barrie, we find out how
the filmmakers approached the movie and paying homage to his genius. The
featurette also looks at the careers of Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, looking
at their past performances and what they bring to their characters and the
film. It also looks at the history of Peter Pan on the big screen and how
Barrie gave the copyright to Great Olmond Street Children Hospital.
Creating Neverland (3.05 mins)
Director Marc Forster, special effects supervisor Kevin Tod Haug and visual
effects designer Leslie McMinm reveal how they created the effects to produce
J.M. Barrie's imagination on the silver screen. We see how the theatre sweep
and the pirate ship were created.
On the Red Carpet (2.25 mins)
From the premieres at the Venice Film Festival, London and New York, Kate
Winslet, writer David Magee, Freddie Highmore, Dustin Hoffman, Ian Hart,
Radha Mitchell and producer Harvey Weinstein talk about 'Finding Neverland'.
Deleted Scenes (2.33 mins)
Entitled 'Pretend you still care', 'Only grownups can have children' and
'Depending on J.M. Barrie, these three deleted scenes are accompanied by
optional commentary by director Marc Forster, producer Richard Gladstien
and writer David Magee.
Outtakes (5.33 mins)
Watch Dustin Hoffman fluffing his lines, Johnny Depp and Radha Mitchell
acting drunk, Peter Pan having trouble with flying, fun with dogs and what
happened with Johnny Depp brought a 'special' machine onto the set.
The excellent 'Finding Neverland' receives a good DVD treatment.
The extras are all of a high standard with a chatty and informative commentary
track and some fun featurettes. More information on J.M. Barrie would have
added to the value but this should not deter fans from purchasing this great
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