Friday 5 November 2004

Finding Neverland (2004) - ickleReview (cinema)

Johnny Depp is surprisingly convincing as J. M. Barrie, the playwright who created Peter Pan. He even pulls off the Scottish accent. I was expecting this film to be mush, but it is actually quite touching and well done. Taking its cue from true events, we see Barrie befriending the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four boys, George, Jack, Peter and Michael, who inspire him to create the story of the lost boys in Neverland. By spending so much time with them, he neglects his wife, Mary (Radha Mitchell), and upsets the snobbish grandmother, Mrs. du Maurier (Julie Christie). And guess what happens.

There's a dizzingly amazing crane shot during the performance of the play, when the camera flies up from the stage and spins around the auditorium before finding Peter Llewelyn Davies (Freddie Highmore) in the audience. In an earlier garden scene, there's some clever editing to show Peter's internal psychology: he is the only one of the five playing a game of cowboys and indians who isn't using his imagination: shots of him are in the garden at home; from the others' perspective, they are on a cowboy movie set.

Nugget: avoids tweeness; sentimental, but not stickily.

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