Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie
Director: Marc Forster
Running Time: 106 mins
Finding Neverland is a British film about the story of novelist and playwright J.M. Barrie, and his close relationship with a family that inspired him to write the beloved play Peter Pan.
A heartwarming blend of biographical drama and fantastical imagination, Finding Neverland pays tribute to playwright J.M. Barrie in wonderful fashion, bolstered by a pleasant atmosphere, lovely performances and gorgeous visuals and production throughout.
As a true biopic, the film isn’t a masterpiece, often struggling to inject a real emotional fervour into the relationships between characters. Also – though it’s a true story – the narrative follows what feels like a fairly predictable and even cheesy arc, leaving little room for touching or powerful drama.
Saying that, however, it’s difficult not to fall in love with Finding Neverland. Telling the story of the man who wrote one of the most imaginative fairytales of all time, this film does a wonderful job as it blends a sense of childlike wonder in with its biographical plot.
From small vignettes of pure fantastical imagination to the story of Barrie’s relationship with five young boys, the sons of a widowed mother, Finding Neverland finds all the right places to bring that boundless imagination and childlike glee into proceedings, without cheapening the main drama.
What’s more is that the film blends that imagination into the main plot, delivering a heartwarming and enormously endearing message about childhood, growing up and never losing sight of the lighter things in life, something that I absolutely adored to see.
Johnny Depp is hugely lovable in the lead role as J.M. Barrie, while Kate Winslet is wonderful alongside him, as are the young boys who play her sons. The film may have a little bit of a theatrical edge to it, what with the lavish costume and production design, but the performances are generally understated and heartfelt, which was a contrast that I really liked.
Overall, I thought Finding Neverland was a wonderful film. Though it isn’t a masterpiece of the biographical genre, it’s a heartwarming, pleasant and imaginative tale of how one of the world’s most famous stories came to be. With gorgeous visuals, wonderful performances and a touching message, it’s a genuine delight, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.