Published Jul 04, 2007Inspired by true events, Finding Neverland imagines the life of playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) as he writes his most famous work, Peter Pan. The film begins at the opening of another of Barrie's plays, which is a dismal failure that forces him to quickly come up with something new. He takes to writing in the local park and there he meets a widow (Kate Winslet) and her four boys, who inspire him to create imaginative tales of boyhood adventure for their delight. Barrie begins spending more and more time with the family, which annoys his distant wife (Radha Mitchell) and causes rumours to fly in his community. Despite everyone's objections, Barrie continues to see the family and it is because of their influence that he is inspired to write his masterpiece. The ideas in the film, which centre around freeing the imagination through the process of writing and attempting to cling to a disappearing childhood, are not exactly new, and the script becomes a bit trite and over-simplified whenever it tries to address these themes directly. There's also something that doesn't ring quite true in the writer's (the script is based upon Allan Knee's play) portrayal of these quasi-real historical events, feeling too obviously as if he crafted history to suit his purpose. Finding Neverland is at its best when it is slipping visually in and out of the fantasy world that Barrie creates for the children, which is wonderfully realised by Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball). Johnny Depp is lovely, as always, in a role well-suited to his charm and talent.