Finding Neverland (2004)


Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Dustin Hoffman, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Freddie Highmore

Director: Marc Forster

Summary: The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan

Other Nominations: Actor (Depp), Adapted Screenplay, Original Score*, Art Direction, Costume Design, Film Editing

This was really the Kate Winslet movie from this year that got nominated and I have to watch? Not Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Sigh.

For me, stories about irrepressible innocent dreamers with childlike wonder seen in an unambiguously positive light rarely appeal to me and also always seem to create “stuffy serious no fun allowed” villain characters so they have an opponent (which is absolutely the case here with Christie’s character, who is also the “rich stuffy serious no fun allowed” type of villain). I can absolutely enjoy a wholly sentimental movie that evokes a sense of magic and wonder (Field of Dreams, E.T., Miracle on 34th Street being some from this project that are great examples), but that almost never happens here (the big exception of the ending scenes where they stage Peter Pan at Winslet’s house, which are great). Depp is pretty good, although this is nowhere near his best work and his nomination surprises me, and Winslet is fine (seemingly the bare minimum for her) but doesn’t get a whole lot to work with-actually, no one gets much except for Depp and Highmore, who’s good for a child actor. Basically, what we have here is a thoroughly unmemorable but still decent (and importantly, at an hour and 40 minutes, short) movie that really shouldn’t have been nominated for Best Picture but was probably due to the Harvey Weinstein’s warlock powers.

Rating: C


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