Sunday, December 12, 2004

Finding Neverland (IMDB) (Netflix)
The story, more or less, of how J.M. Barrie was inspired to create "Peter Pan," starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslett and Julie Christie (the years have been kind to her, but still, them's a lot of years). Barrie was a struggling playwright who befriended the widow Sylvia Davies and her four boys in a Platonic-but-still scandalous manner (he was married), but the relationship bore fruit of another kind — the classic play.

This is the most gentle of melodramas (if it can be called that); despite the many conflicts created by Barrie's unusual relationship, the only shouting comes from the children. Barrie's imagination is integrated nicely into scenes, and Depp is naturalistic and affectation-free, which is almost a pity, since his affectations are usually pretty entertaining. And while I respect the restraint employed, I could have used a bit more edge — everyone's so terribly British, except for Barrie, who was a Scot, and he's pretty British, too.

Because of the subject matter and noble tone, this has "Oscar Nominee!" oozing from its pores.