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Finding Neverland (DVD, 2005, Full Frame)

Marc Forster, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet | Theatrical release: 2004 | Rating: PG (MPAA)
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Movie synopsis
Most people know the story of Peter Pan, the boy who refused to grow up. Director Marc Forster's (MONSTER'S BALL) FINDING NEVERLAND delves deeper, depicting a fictionalized account of the family and events that inspired the classic tale. At the turn of the 20th Century, Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie's (Johnny Depp) latest play in London has flopped almost as badly as his marriage to stature-seeking Mary (Radha Mitchell). During one of his frequent excursions to the park with his dog, Barrie meets four young boys and their recently widowed mother, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). Soon Barrie becomes a frequent playmate to the children, using the boys' imagination to take them on fanciful adventures. He also becomes a friend and confidante to the overwhelmed Sylvia, much to the dismay of her overbearing mother (Julie Christie). Barrie's active imagination and interaction with the family inspires "Peter Pan," a play that celebrates the child in everyone and the importance of believing in fantasies and miracles. A droll and amusing Dustin Hoffman appears as American Charles Frohman, Barrie's producer. The film also features young Freddie Highmore as Peter Llewelyn Davies, the inspiration for Barrie's title character.

Product Details
  • Edition: Full Frame
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Rating: PG (MPAA)
  • Film Country: USA
  • UPC: 786936283167

Additional Details
Genre:Dramas
Format:DVD
Display Format:Full Frame

Director:Marc Forster
Leading Role:Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet
eBay Product ID: EPID45086843
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Editorial reviews

"Mr. Depp and Ms. Winslet are pleasant to watch..."
New York Times - Manohla Dargis (11/12/2004)

"[A] lovely, poignant and in some ways old-fashioned movie....The story is told gently and simply without excess sentimentality."
USA Today - Claudia Puig (11/12/2004)

"Depp and Winslet share a rare combination of airiness, earthiness and sharp, wry intelligence. With his gleaming black hair, quiet grace and molten eyes, Depp makes Barrie's ability to conjure imaginary worlds seem magical."
Los Angeles Times - Carina Chocano (11/12/2004)

"FINDING NEVERLAND is studded with little pleasures....The movie glows..."
Entertainment Weekly - Owen Gleiberman (11/19/2004)

"Winslet brims with warmth, and Julie Christie gives a tart performance....All the actors benefit from the sensitive hand of director Marc Forster..."
Movieline's Hollywood Life - Stephen Farber (12/01/2004)

"[G]lorious entertainment. It shimmers with the promise of enchantment....The film sparks with comic life..."
Rolling Stone - Peter Travers (11/25/2004)

"[I]t's about the creative process, the power of the imagination and the place where imagination dwells..."
Uncut - Danny Leigh (04/01/2005)

"[T]his is sweet without being sugary..."
Total Film - Total Film Staff (07/01/2006)

4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n engrossing period piece with stunning scenery, beautiful costumes and sweet flights of fancy as we enter the world of Barrie's unbridled imagination."
Ultimate DVD - David Richardson (05/01/2007)

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Customer Reviews

Average review score based on 74 user reviews

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Created: 09/22/05

Johnny Depp ..... Kate Winslet ... Awesome!

The Film

Finding Neverland is one of those films that come along that are different enough to make critics swoon with delight because its not the same hum-drum crap that Hollywood gives us week after week, month after month, year after year. But the real question should be: is it really as good as everyone says it is or is it merely given praise because there is nary an explosion or chase scene to be found? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) is fresh off writing a play that nobody liked, living with a wife that loves her social standing more than she loves her husband (or the thought of children), and a yearning to live his life in the care-free manner of a child. On a trip to the park one day, Barrie meets the four boys of the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). And before you scream "PEDOPHILE," Barrie's interest in the kids is one of inspiration. As they are living the life he would like to live, he joins them in their imaginative adventures and even helps to bring young Peter (the boy who ends up playing Charlie in the Chocolate Factory later) out of his grieving shell.

There was quite a buzz surrounding this film, even garnering Depp another Best Actor Nomination, and a lot of it is justified. The acting from Depp, Winslet, and the four boys is better than average. Director Marc Foster keeps things stuffy and square in the "real" world but is able to open up some stunning sequences when the boys and Barrie are wrapped up in their imagination.

That said, I wouldn't go so far as to call this a masterpiece or anything. It's unfortunate that this small film is never completely able to break out of its smallness. There isn't anything here that you haven't seen already and it's doubtful that you'll linger on any deep thoughts after viewing. The best it may do is make you want to watch "Peter Pan" again.

What baffles me about this film is it's denial to explore the real story of J.M. Barrie and his unusual fascination with the Davies' family. According to all accounts, Barrie started hanging around the kids before Sylvia's husband died, who moved his family to get away from Barrie. Add that to the rumors of an extra-marital affair and the pedophilia rumors and you've got some good indie drama. But Finding Neverland only seems to find the good in Barrie, his divorce, his work, and his play. And while it may seem refreshing to some; it feels incomplete to me.

The Extras

You will find commentary from the writer, producer, and director - which is standard fare. There are also deleted scenes (with optional commentary) so you can decide whether the editor was smart or not. There are also two featurettes entitled "The Magic of Finding Neverland" and "Creating Neverland," of which both could easily be seen as fodder in between movies shown on HBO (which is really what all featurettes are in the first place). The most interesting of the extras are the outtakes, which show you how Johnny Depp employs a "fart" machine to induce genuine laughter from the four boys during a pivotal dinner scene. Hey, even I laughed at that one.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 02/20/07

Finding Neverland Was a Nice Change for Johnny Depp

Review For: Finding Neverland (DVD, 2005, Full Frame)

This movie is the story of J. M. Barrie (Johnny Depp), the author of "Peter Pan," who was inspired by a widow lady (Kate Winslett)in the park with her three sons. His relationship with the lady leads to problems with her mother (Julie Christie in a nice role for her) and his wife, who eventually gets so disgusted that she leaves him. The story unravels quickly when the lady seems ill. You can compare it to "Dark Victory" or "Camille" in the end. But how this all ties in with the play, "Peter Pan," I will leave to your own discovery.

Johnny Depp plays the part magnificently. This is one of the first normal roles for him that I have seen. He is becoming one of my favorite actors. He doesn't have to be weird to be great!

For this movie, Johnny Depp achieved a Best Actor Oscar nomination. The movie also was nominated for 7 total Oscars, and won one for Best Original Music Score.

It will be a little sad for small children, but the special effects are very enjoyable.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful. Was this review helpful? Yes | No

Created: 08/09/06

Diverse Depp

My nephew said that where Johnny Depp is concerned with me, he can do no wrong. Every role he plays offers a different performance, attitude, and even various accents. That's the case here in "Finding Neverland," where his portrayal of JM Barrie is most impressive. I bought the tape for that reason, just as I collect most of Depp's movies. If I like a movie, I *will* watch it often (e.g., "The Godfather" is probably the most watched movie in this house; we've watched it since 1972 through VHS and now DVD and are never bored by it). This is the case with Johnny Depp movies. I can watch any of his early movies (e.g., "Benny and Joon") to an indie ("The Man Who Cried") to his playing a supporting but major role ("Chocolat") and never tire of the movies. This is because they all have the Depp "magic" that bring the movies alive and constantly interesting. "Finding Neverland" may not have been a blockbuster, but Depp and Winslet's performances (and Julie Christie and Dustin Hoffman's) were as enchanting as the story of Peter Pan itself. When Barrie brings the set of Neverland to Winslet's character, the cinematography is dreamlike, romantic, and ultimately sad. Even so, as my nephew said, Depp can do no wrong.

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Created: 05/29/06

Johnny at his best!

Review For: Finding Neverland (DVD, 2005, Full Frame)

Johnny and Kate become friends through Kate's sons whom Johnny meets in the park.He is involved in a loveless marriage and finds comfort helping widowed Kate.He becomes involved with being the father the boys had lost and the compassionate lover comforting a dying friend. Jim Barrie makes light of all the strife in his life with his uplifting book Peter Pan. Johnny is able to capture this character. He truely is a genius of character acting.He employs his previous characters rolled in to, one Jim Barrie. You will see the delightful Bennie, the cunning Captain Jack, the lovingly insane Don Jaun DeMarco, the Man who Cried and Chocolat. You will meet them all in this movie. And for those of you who just love Johnny, it is eye candy for you to be repeatedly watched until the DVD wears through. Very Good Film.Pandorasbaux

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Created: 10/07/08

Finding Neverland

Review For: Finding Neverland (DVD, 2005, Full Frame)

The story of the author at the time he wrote the play "Peter Pan", and apparently, a fictionalized version of the family (mother and small boys) who inspired it, according to the product description. The acting throughout tends toward the family/young child genre, rather than family in general (Elizabeth Taylor's "National Velvet", with its more realistic acting, and also mention of female striving (mother as well as daughter) and other verities, comes to mind as slightly more polished material). "Finding Neverland"is however quite lovely, a candy-box version of (both happy and sad) events the viewer might be persuaded are true (where indeed does truth end and fiction begin?), and is indeed beautifully photographed as to camera angles and especially evocative as to the settings and costumes of the time.

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