Film reviews

Finding Neverland, Dir.; Marc Forster, Cert; PG

Did I go to see this film because it was another adaptation of the ever popular tale of ‘Peter Pan’ or was it because it starred the inimitable Johnny Depp? Sat in the theatre with the feature presentation all set to roll, I decided that whether it was the tale of Peter Pan or not I didn’t really care, it was Depp I had come here to see. Being the oldest member of the audience here, that is without the optional extras that are children, I felt in no way conspicuous, although sat at the back in the darkness I really wasn’t noticed anyway.

Director Marc Forster took this evergreen tale and true to James M. Barrie's original children's fiction (all right with a little artistic license applied) brought this much told story to life, but in a light I had never before seen, ok maybe ‘Hook’ came close, but in not quite the same way. It was clear from this account that the authors imagination was as if he had never lost his ability to see through the eyes of a child, but was only made fully aware of this upon meeting the children of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (played by Kate Winslet), a meeting that spurned a love affair and kick-started an ailing career.

“Young boys should never be sent to bed, they always wake -up a day older...”, a concept that it wasn’t as if I’d not heard before, but Depp’s quite eloquent portrayal of the Scottish writer set this in a light that was every bit believable, where fantasy and fiction ended was unclear, was this the author or the actor speaking? Exploring both the fantasy of a child and the harder reality of adult life was examined well, with the cruel knives of the later inter weaving with the innocence that could be seen J.M. Barrie was encouraging in the Davies children.

Cleverly enough several subtle casting decisions had been taken, with Dustin Hoffman (note the earlier mentioned ‘Hook’) cast as Barrie’s American sponsor and provider of the fortunes that saw ‘Peter Pan’ to the stage, Paul Whitehouse (Fast Show) and Depp’s friend put in the ‘shoes’ of the productions ‘Studio Manager’ and MacKenzie Crook (Pirates Of The Caribbean), playing the theatre’s usher. With ‘laugh-out-loud’ moments being present in subtle quantity, but undoubted quality. I left the cinema, my affirmation in Johnny Depp’s quality as an actor intact and still a fan, whilst at the same time appreciating the production of this story. 9/10

Nick James


Odeon Online

 

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