Finding Neverland Marc Forster

Finding Neverland Marc Forster
Though J.M. Barrie wrote one of the world's most beloved children's stories with Peter Pan, his low profile is an immediate reason to wonder why exactly his story would make for a good film? While rumours float around about just how much he loved children, Finding Neverland has brought the creation of Barrie's play to the screen without controversy and with a more than engaging plot. Starring the wonderfully talented Johnny Depp as the Scottish playwright, Forster's film uses Allan Knee's play The Man Who Was Peter Pan as a guide, though the screenplay is more of an extended extraction focusing precisely on Peter Pan's conception. After a few flops, Barrie and his financial backer (Dustin Hoffman) become discouraged, forcing the writer to seek inspiration elsewhere. Enter recent widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four sons to save the day. Barrie quickly falls in love with the gang of five and begins extracting ideas from his daily play dates until he constructs his story, based mostly on the young and jaded Peter Davies (played brilliantly by Freddie Highmore). Of course, the film isn't a complete fairy tale — Barrie's wife walks out because of his neglect and Sylvia falls ill — but Forster reaches an end that is both warm and uplifting enough to force a grin from even the hardest cynic. A commentary is included with Forster, writer David Magee and producer Richard Goldstein that unlocks many interesting tidbits about Depp's helpful and creative ideas, the visually stunning costume and set designs, and unique animation. "The Magic of Neverland" is a well-compiled behind-the-scenes featurette that examines Barrie's ageless hero (complete with clips from the Disney animated film), while interviewing cast members about their roles and showing glimpses of on-set interaction (including footage with the fart machine, a device Depp used to make the kids laugh) and the revelation that all profits from Barrie's story still continue to be donated to the sick children's hospital. Plus: deleted scenes and outtakes, two featurettes. (Alliance Atlantis)