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2004 Holiday Movie Reviews
Reviews of Finding Neverland
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Number of Reviews: 10
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Very enjoyable movie!

This movie made you laugh and cry. I thought it was very well done!

Reviewer: Theresa Hoffman of Rochester, MN (December 24, 2004)
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Finding Neverland

Wow, a movie that was NOT designed to knock you over with special effects or overacting/reacting.

Finding Neverland was done with a light touch, it is gentle, thoughtful,delicate and thoroughly delightful. This is trully a movie for all ages to enjoy together and talk about, a movie to be savored and enjoyed more than once. One has the sense of experiencing a dream and sharing an inner longing while watching this movie. I rarely go to movies becauses they tend to slam dunk me with "razz ma tazz"

Johnnie Depp had the good sense to act with his facial and body expressions mostly, to portray feelings as well as events. I highly recommend this movie.

Reviewer: Diane Hilden of Roseville, MN (December 23, 2004)
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Neverland is amazing!

This movie is truly magical. Johnny Depp has perfect pitch in portraying the playful, whimsical, yet sad boy/man James Barrie. His interaction with the boys, especially Peter, rings true, as does his bittersweet relationship with his distant, social-climbing wife. I highly recommend all lovers of Peter Pan (& come on, who isn't?!), young & old, see this exquisite film.

Reviewer: Julie Hartmans of South St. Paul, MN (December 21, 2004)
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Johnny Depp can do the seemingly impossible

It's really hard to bring to life the creative process....because most of it happens in people's heads. Director Marc Forster deserves some credit since he gives us a few (but not too many) colorful glimpses of Neverland, but what really makes it work are the gears turning behind Depp's eyes. You can feel him thinking out his new play, his new story. It's a great performance that could have been cloying or just plain dull.

Freddie Highmore deserves special accolades as the boy who most inspires Depp's Barrie. Kid actors tend to be congratulated when they affect a serious, adult manner. Dakota Fanning is the latest grim little actor who received praise for her moroseness. But, there's more than a creepy adult-like seriousness to the Highmore. There really is a deep emotion to the kid's acting that brings to mind the oldest sister in last year's heartbreaking "In America."

Reviewer: stephanie curtis of St. Paul, MN (December 14, 2004)
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Shining a light on the dark corners of the human heart

Finding Neverland shines a light on the dark corners of the human heart, with a rich and uplifting simplicity. The story leads you through J. M. Barrie's creation of Peter Pan. As Mr. Barrie (played by Johnny Depp) grows attached to a widow and her four boys, he sees the boys' suffering at the loss of their father, and the failing health of their mother. He writes Peter Pan in attempt to offer the children a way to keep their spirits alive as they survive such terrible loss. In turn the film offers the same relief to the audience.

The film manages to be deeply touching without being overly sentimental. Johnny Depp masterfully plays both comedic and dramatic moments with his subtle performance at the film's center. Rich performances are also given by the young actors, and Kate Winslet. Kelly Macdonald, in the role of Peter Pan, may have you clapping in your seat.

Reviewer: Michael Dent of Minneapolis, MN (December 10, 2004)
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Excellent Companion to the Live Action Peter Pan

This was an excellent movie to partner with the live action Peter Pan. It helps viewers understand where the characters came from and what they represent. The movie also stands on its own because of its great acting and good characters. It inspires imagination and not growing up when you can. Very well done.

Reviewer: Eric Anderson of St. Paul, MN (December 9, 2004)
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Neverland? Found it.

Although it has been criticised as being shallow and not asking hte questions, at the heart of it Finding Neverland was not meant to be either a biography or a documentary, it is merely a lovely, nice tale of how J M Barrie was inspired to writer Peter Pan.

It succeeds on every level, it is gorgeously filmed and acted, especially by Freddie Highmore, the lad who plays Peter and who ultimately inspired J M Barrie.

J M Barrie begins the film with a play flopping, he pulls back from everyone, his wife and producer, and trys to write, but his magic seems to be gone. enter Kate Winslet as the motehr of four boys who bring out the child withing Barrie, letting him see that it is the child inside that gave him his gift. He befriends the family and as he gets to know them the seeds of Peter Pan begin to form.

While it is not a deep phsycological piece, it was not meant to viewed thus. It is, however, emotional, moving, and lovely.

Reviewer: Logan Giannini of Zumbrota, MN (December 7, 2004)
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Finding Neverland is one the year's best.

"Finding Neverland" tells the story about author J.M. Barrie's (Johnny Depp) experience creating his play for "Peter Pan". After his most recent play flops miserably, he begins venturing into new possibilities. One day, on a daily trip to the park, he finds a small boy under his bench. He asks him why he is hiding under the bench, the boys reply is that the evil older brother is holding him captive. He is introduced to the family of Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet), and Barrie starts to fall under the kids' spell of fun, and begins to play theatrics with them.

The performances of a masterpiece are all here. Depp is, as usual, great. Winslet is pretty much the same as she has always been which is consistently breathtaking. But the breakout comes from Freddie Highmore as Peter, who wants so desperately to be a grown-up so they don't have to lie to him.

The most important piece of the film is that director Forster is able to create magic out of the mundane setting. The more compelling and escapist story clearly lies in "Peter Pan", because childhood was a lot of fun and the movie captures the joys of childhood magically and that is why Barrie wrote it. The fanciful things that are done here make it just as flight-of-fanciness, and the enjoyment that brought in my emotions was an elating experience that I've felt very few times this year. I would call it, quite clearly, one of the bests, with great performances all around.

Reviewer: Cameron Slick of St. Paul, MN (December 5, 2004)
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PETER PANNED

Through cinematography lush
we're given a story that's mush.
Please send those dear boys
back to Tinker Toys,
away from James Barrie's chaste crush.

Reviewer: tim torkildson of minneapolis, MN (November 29, 2004)
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Sincere, Imaginative, and Moving

"Finding Neverland" incorporates a touching story with soon-to-be classic performances. In this film, the story of Barrie's life is infused with tidbits from his imagination, the end product being the Peter Pan story. Throughout the film there are so many the little "moments"--don't want to give them away--but these bright spots of humor and connection prevent the movie from slipping into sentimentality.

As for the acting, Johnny Depp is perfect as James Barrie; his character is subtle and gentlemanly, never coming across as ill-intentioned with the Davies family he loved. We see his vulnerability, naivete, sorrows, genius. Also, Freddy Highmore, the child actor who plays Peter Davies, is one of the most charming I've ever seen. He reminds me of a very young Ethan Hawke. Depp and Highmore's characters have an relationship of mutual inspiration that carries offscreen as well: Depp was responsible for getting Highmore the role of Charlie in the upcoming "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

Simply put, "Finding Neverland" is a great movie, especially for all of us believers.

Reviewer: Emily Swanson of St. Louis Park, MN (November 20, 2004)
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