I’ve always loved Peter Pan and the idea of escaping the Neverland, so it’ll come as no surprise that I love the a movie based on how the author came up with the idea for the story. Finding Neverland is a truly beautiful film staring Johnny Depp as Scottish playwright James M. Barrie and Kate Winslet as Sylvia Davies a window left with four boys to raise. It also has a young Freddie Highmore (who went onto do Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Compass and The Bates Motel) playing one of the sons, Peter.
The story line is pretty straightforward J.M. Barrie becomes friends with the Davies family and then is inspired by their adventures to write Peter Pan. There’s subplot with Barrie’s wife and the pressure of the upper-classes, but it adds to the emotions and helps to give a better understanding of his life. Without spoiling anything, this film made me cry rivers at the end but it’s so well done and beautifully told that I’d watch it over and over again.
The accompanying soundtrack by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek really helps the magic to come alive and it truly deserves the Academy Award it won for Best Original Score in 2004. I’m listening to now as I write this and even on its own it is still wonderful and calming.
If like me you somehow missed this film, I highly recommend that you go and see it as soon as possible. It’s become one of my favourite movies of all times, and is at tied first place for Pan-related films with P.J Hogan’s 2003 Peter Pan. It really is magical.