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Movies: Finding Neverland
Wednesday, 2004 December 29 - 3:49 pm
Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet give thoughtful and nuanced performances in this sleeper gem.

"Finding Neverland" is the story of how J. M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) came to write his famous play "Peter Pan". The story picks up just as his previous play, a serious and dull affair, is receiving dreadful reviews from critics and audiences alike. Through his newfound friendship with the widow Sylvia Davies and her three boys, he comes to realize that his plays should have the same childlike adventurous fun that he enjoys in real life.

We've seen Johnny Depp in heavyweight roles ("Donnie Brasco") and lighter fare ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), but this is the first time I can remember that I've seen him with gravity, emotion, and humor all in one character. He manages to pull off this complex character with aplomb.

Kate Winslet is less challenged her role, as the widow struggling to raise her children while dealing with her meddling mother. The character is somewhat one-dimensional, but Winslet manages to bring some emotion and life into it.

The story is entertaining and the plot moves along well until the end, where it bogs down trying to come up with a proper dramatic ending. I suppose that can be forgiven, though; it's not as if the movie could just end with the production of "Peter Pan", because we all knew that was coming. But then again, you probably won't find the actual ending to be a huge surprise, either.

Still, all in all, a worthwhile and entertaining film.

Rating: 4 / 5
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Posted by Ken in: moviesreviews

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