finding neverland


Sir James Matthew Barrie, Baronet (1860 – 1937), Scottish novelist and dramatist, is best known for creating the character Peter Pan, whom he based on his friends, the Llewelyn-Davies boys.
Barrie was born in Kirriemuir, Angus, and was educated at Dumfries Academy and Edinburgh University. He became a journalist at Nottingham, then London, and became a novelist. His first two novels were set in Kirriemuir, named “Thrums” (his father was a weaver). He then wrote for the theatre, including Quality Street, What Every Woman Knows, and The Admirable Crichton.
He died in 1937 and was interred at Kirriemuir, next to his parents, sister, and brother David.
In his will, he specified that the copyright of Peter Pan should go to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Finding Neverland
Barrie became acquainted with the family in 1897 or ’98 after meeting George and Jack with their nurse in London’s Kensington Gardens, where he often came, and lived nearby.
He became a surrogate father, and when the boys became orphans, he became their guardian. Some sources say that the mother’s will specified the nurse’s sister, and that he forged or unintentionally mistranscribed the will.
A semifictional movie about his relationship with the family, Finding Neverland, was released in October 2004, starring Johnny Depp as Barrie and Kate Winslet as Sylvia Llewelyn-Davies.
Plot Outline: The story of J.M. Barrie’s friendship with a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. (more) (view trailer)
PLOT
Every holiday season Harvey Weinstein and Miramax talk up one of their properties, fully expecting everyone to bow and throw awards at it as soon as it’s released. This year it’s Finding Neverland, which has produced a lot of buzz in favor of Johnny Depp’s sophisticated performance. Although the film deserves all the praise it gets, it is understandable that moviegoers are a little weary with another dramatic period piece, with another “oscar caliber” cast, about yet another take on Peter Pan.
The bottom line is, this movie is phenomenal. Exploring the major theme of Barrie’s play (that of a boy who never grows up), Finding Neverland refrains from condemning grown-ups, but exalts the wild magic one can enjoy as a kid. For James, who had to deal with his family’s reticence upon the death of his brother, the real tragedy occurs when a child is forced to grow up too fast.
My favorite idea from this film is this: life finds a way to put into our lives the people we’re supposed to be living our lives with. James and Sylvia needed each other, and they needed each other at that particular time. Life took care of them.
The film does indeed move at a snail’s pace. Consider that part of the set design. Just as the characters go about 1905 London in top hats and buttoned-down gowns, so does the movie develop in a manner which would have been fitting for a time which preceded MTV-generation attention spans by about a hundred years.
As for the acting, it is wonderful. Depp is understated and gallant, Kate Winslet is lovely and tragic, and they’re both better than I’ve ever seen them. Julie Christie is brutally ominous as the matriarch who can gum up everyone’s happiness. Dustin Hoffman, although out of place, brings a dry wit as a risk-taking businessman. The boys playing the Davis kids are a lot of fun to watch and play their dramatic parts perfectly.
If you want something where all the pieces of the magic puzzle that is movie-making come together with grace, charm, and humanity, you won’t find a more rewarding film than this.

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