I found this movie on this morning and remembered how much I loved it right after I bought the DVD. The reasons are legion:
1. It’s about a writer: JM Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan. I’m a sucker for movies about writers; in fact I collect them. This is a particularly good one.
2. Johnny Depp. I love Johnny Depp. I think he is an amazing actor and really interesting to watch on-screen. That his Jack Sparrow is one of the most creative characterizations in the history of movies goes without saying. He is handsome of course, and those nearly black eyes draw me in to every performance. In Finding Neverland, he gets to play off a group of absolutely delightful boys, and he does it so naturally that you have to believe he is almost more comfortable with children than with other adults.
3. Kate Winslet is wonderful. This is most definitely not Rose Dewitt Bukater. She is completely believable as the frazzled, widowed mother of four active boys, who believes that children need to be children so she allows them lots of time to play and free reign with their imaginations.
4. The attraction between those two characters is palpable even though there is no innuendo or on-screen passion. They love each other deeply and without doubt though they never even share even the most chaste of kisses. Their chemistry leaves me hungry for more and wishing they would do another movie where they do get together.
5. The kids are great! They are cute and handsome just as they should be. The older boy takes the role of man of the house when he needs to. Little Michael is an adorable teddy bear of a child. Freddy Highsmore is heartbreaking as the real Peter who needs desperately to be a boy who never grows up.
6. The back and forth between fantasy and reality is enchanting. Edwardian England is beautiful in its own right, the lands of fantasy are–well–fantastic.
7. Julie Christie as Kate Winslet’s mother is beautiful as always, one of those few women whose looks have not diminished with age.
I really, truly love this movie, for all the reasons above and for others that I can’t say without spoilers. It is an entertaining and worthy way to spend 106 minutes.