Peter Pan is about a child who lives in Neverland who do not want to ever grow up. It is about imagination, it is about fairies and pirates, rednecks and Indians.It is about Pixie dust that can make you fly, but it is also about loss of childhood and reconciliation of sorrow of losing someone you love. Peter Pan was not just a child who never wanted to grow up. He is the child that we always forget about who resides somewhere deep inside us. And Finding Neverland is about Peter Pan!
Finding Neverland directed by Marc Forster, who later went on to direct one of my personal Favorites The Kite Runner and World War Z is a semi-biographical movie and based on a play written by Allan Knee.(which I cannot find anywhere). It is about life of playwright J.M. Barrie and how he came up with the story of Peter Pan.
Beautiful is such an over rated word now, we use it so much that we actually do not marvel it now. But if someone would ask me to define Finding Neverland in one word, I would say it is Beautiful. I have watched very few movies which can be regarded as beautiful in my life, and this heartwarming tale of dealing with pain of separation and growing up-while not growing up-can easily be regarded as beautiful.
Finding Neverland is about an artist finding his muse in a family and more importantly a child (Peter) who has grown up quite quickly and far earlier than his time. It is about imagination and not stopping to dream. It is marvelous to look at Peter Pan’s world pan out inside the mind of the author. How he finds the character of Captain Hook in the grandmother of kids. How he tries so hard to write the character of Windy.
Finding Neverland stars Johny Depp as a famous playwright Mr. Barrie whose plays are not getting good response lately and who also have tension in his household with his wife Mary (played by Radha Mitchell) . One day in his daily stroll to the park, he encounters a family with four boys and a widow mother Sylvia Llewelyn (portrayed by Kate Winslet) he befriends them and become a play mate for the kids. Because of Mr. Barries childish nuances, all boys starts liking him except Peter-who is still grieving for his deceased father. Meanwhile his friendship with Sylvia deepens much to the dislike of his wife.And thus inspired from his muse-the Lelewelyn family- he writes his best play he has ever written “Peter Pan”
Finding Neverland can be regarded as a period Drama like Sense and Sensibility (1995), Pride and Prejudice (2005) and Elizabeth (1998). The set production is perfect, taking the viewer back in early twentieth century household. Also creating a perfect early twentieth century theater. The striking image of a theater in the era when the theater was only for rich and powerful. The faction controlled theater and realism ruled the stage. Peter pan serves as the onset of modernism in literature. As the theater slowly transformed into not just for rich and upper class, but for everyone. Theater went from a conventional place for the high class of the city for gathering to a way of entertainment for everyone.
The art direction and cinematography works to the point as the film never feels out of its time. The costume designing is also taken care with a finesse. Johny Depp, portrays the author as just like every other character he has portrayed. With remarkable quality and perseverance. He is definitely at his best in Finding Neverland as an actor and has not over performed like he goes on in other movies he is in. Kate Winslet though proves her worth by balancing the quirks of Johny Depp’s acting and portrays a perfect role as Sylvia. The pain in her grieving is palpable and she cares about her boys.
Finding Neverland though might not be completely correct historically is a perfect Period Drama, with unbelievable emotions running beneath the story. The small Freddie Highmore was brilliant as Peter Llewelyn Davies he later went on to star in another movie with Depp Charlie and The Chocolate factory.
As a writer Finding Neverland has even greater meaning for me, it inspires me. To witness a great writer getting his inspiration from his muse is a great experience and one that can inspire and ignite the words.
Finding Neverland is about life, its about death, it is about losing childhood, it is about finding it again inside stories. A well made biopic with exceptional background score deserves all the respect and admiration.
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