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Movie review


Finding Neverland is a fanciful journey filled with lush scenery, and almost surreal cinematography.

The story starts with a disastrous play opening. The writer, Sir James Matthew Barrie (Johnny Depp) has written a flop - and he knows it. The play folds immediately, and Barrie doesn't seem to have much inspiration. Then one day he goes to the park, where he witnesses a family playing and creating imaginary worlds.

He slowly develops a relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family of four boys, including the mother and widow Sylvia (Kate Winslet).

Barrie is married to the beautiful but cold and aloof Mary Ansell Barrie (Radha Mitchell). She is disenchanted with her marriage to the brilliant playwright because he disappears into his stories and forgets all about her. She becomes even more wary after Barrie develops his friendship with the Davies.

But in the film Barrie is much more interested in the play he is writing and with the boys who are inspiring him than he is with Sylvia. In fact, Winslet's role is more of a gentle background to the rest of the movie. She's there, but it's not about her so much as it is about the boys, Barrie, and the play - although she is central to the ending of the film.

The film is artfully done, blending scenes from the play Peter Pan Barrie is creating in his head with scenes from reality. But even reality in this movie is sort of frosted and too soft. The film is filled with pastels and lush greens and prop like looking scenery - and it is all very beautiful.

Depp once again disappears into his character. It is safe to say he is never the same twice, as some of his recent movies, including Secret Window and Pirates of the Caribbean, can attest to. He's a quite a bit cleaner, shinier, and sleeker in this film. It does seem however, that no matter what role Depp plays he comes off as a little bit tortured. The same is true in Finding Neverland, but to borrow a line from a member of the audience, Depp is "amazingly amazing."

Finding Neverland is safe for the whole family to watch but bring some tissues. And if you leave your imagination at home, you'd better check out a different film.

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