Finding Neverland tells the story of playwright J.M. Barrie who finds an escape from his loveless marriage to a joyless social climber and inspiration for his classic work Peter Pan in a young widow and her four sons.
Both an interesting and lavishly produced period piece and love letter to the joys of the imagination, this film is a deeply charming and affecting tale that is nicely judged by all concerned. The costumes and cinematography are beautiful and the representations on screen of Barrie’s imaginary world are lovely to look at. The story by its nature is a little sentimental, but it never feels contrived because of sensitive performances by a quality ensemble cast. Johnny Depp is at his most likeable and his understated relationship with Kate Winslet is both believable and moving. Dustin Hoffman’s supporting performance as a sceptical producer also deserves a mention and he brings some light relief and laughs to an otherwise tear jerking story.
But most of all it brings a sense of wonder and magic to the screen that is rarely achieved with this level of success.