The true story of playwright J.M. Barrie and his friendship with the
family that would inspire him to write his masterpiece, Peter Pan.
Finding Neverland (2004)
Directed by Marc Forster
Written by David Magee
Starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie,
Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman, Freddie Highmore,
Joe Prospero, Nick Roud, Luke Spill
Based on the stage play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee
Oscar Wins - Best Original Score (Jan A.P. Kaczmarek)
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Johnny Depp),
Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design
Finding Neverland is a touching drama about one of the most iconic stories ever written, and the man behind it. J.M Barrie befriended the Davies family during a time of mourning, and helped them recapture their imaginations. Through it all, he became inspired to write Peter Pan, and the world of literature became a little bit brighter. This movie tells the story of Barrie's relationship with the Davies family, and while not entirely historically accurate, it is a beautiful story about imagination, love, friendship, and how important it is to never entirely grow up.
Johnny Depp plays J.M. Barrie, delivering one of the finest and most charming performances of his career. His chemistry with Kate Winslet (who plays Mrs. Davies) is the heart of this film, as is his back and forth with Freddie Highmore (who plays young Peter Davies, in a powerful performance). I thought it was hilarious to see Dustin Hoffman as theater manager Charles Frohman, considering Hoffman's iconic role as Captain Hook in 1991's Hook. There's no way that was an accident. Barrie comes to befriend this family at the cost of his own marriage. This movie is a tearjerker for sure, and I was not prepared for it.
At the end of the film, Barrie brings the cast and crew of the first Peter Pan production to the Davies family's living room, so Sylvia (who is dying) can see the play that her family inspired. By that time, it was Niagara Falls on my face and I knew I was watching something truly special. Finding Neverland isn't one of those films that a lot of people talk about it anymore, but it should be. It stands as one of the finest biopics of the 2000's and a magical film all its own.