FINDING NEVERLAND



     Finally! A movie that was really good. The story of James Barrie's "real" inspiration for his classic: Peter Pan. The director uses a strange editing together of reality and the fantastically imagined to progress his storytelling. I really just enjoyed the quirks and dynamics of the characters and how they brought the story to life. A difficult movie to review. It was just one of those films that has "magic" and makes you feel sad, yet ultimately good by the time the credits role. I thought it was fantastic, and I'd love to see it win best picture at the Oscars (although it probably won't).

     Johnny Depp's charm and demeanor deservedly garnered him an Oscar nomination for best leading actor, but it was Freddie Highmore that stole the show. His emotional depth and capacity for roles that are bigger than himself at age 12 is staggering. Although the story focuses on Depp's character and Kate Winslett's character, I think the story really was about little Peter (Highmore).

      So many emotions are evoked by the images on the screen, it's hard for the women (wink wink) to fight back the tears. Kids laughing, people dying, relationships strained and strengthened, business worries, writers' bloc, and finally the joy and suffering of little boys.

      Two things that struck me. One, I could've lived without the last 5 minutes. Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) had a chance to end his film on a high note, and decided to go on and end on a sour note. Two, there is one reference to pedofilia in the film that just didn't fit with what the story was trying to accomplish. It was odd and seemed to be just thrown into the mix, and I couldn't help but think of the current Michael Jackson scandal and the fact that his home where the allegations took place is known as "Neverland." Interesting allusion, but weird and needless.

      I highly recommend this film. Some may find it slow, and others too artsy or goody goody, but trust me, if you have any maturity at all, it'll astound you. If you have no maturity, that is what Barrie would've wanted, and it'll astound you. Go see Finding Neverland if you believe....







drewbacca@moviepatron.com