Sunday, January 23, 2005

Finding Neverland

This is the second movie I watched in yesterday's 3 movie marathon.

Who would've thought that even James Matthew Barrie can get writer's block and his latest play proved to be such a bore. The film opens with high English society going a cinema of yesteryear - the theatre - and by the end of it, JM Barrie knew he needed something special to stay at the top of his game.

Chance allowed him to meet a widower with 4 boys, and needless to say, their life experiences together form the basis of his most famous work - Peter Pan. However, through spending much time with this family, his own loveless marriage spun out of control, while at the same time, he finds new meaning in life with his teaching of imagination and escapism to his new surrogate family.

This film briefly explores the nuances of high society in the Victorian age, as things like these set tongues wagging, and is equivalent to the current day scandals. We're also treated to a behind the scenes look at how the theatre group pulls off the fantasy elements of the play - you'd have to believe it's there, and Barries' masterstroke in inviting orphans to the premiere of Peter Pan.

Johnny Depp does it again with his top notch acting. He's one of the few character actors around, and takes his performance to another new level. This film, given Barrie's encouraging use of imagination, allows Depp to showcase multiple roles when he plays with the kids, and one which audiences immediately identify with, is the shade of Captain Jack Sparrow when he portrays a pirate.

Kate Winslet does a commendable job as the children's mom in a single parent family, being the strong pillar to 4 young boys, and yet, being so vulnerable because of a critical illness.

Dustin Hoffman chews up his scenes, and the best irony comes in his initial disbelief that Peter Pan can pull it off (There are some of you who remembered that he played Captain Hook in Spielberg's Hook)

This is a nice touching drama on soaring life with imagination, the background tale behind the boy who never grew up, and ladies, be prepared to bring some tissues for this one - even my eyes did well at the end of this one.

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