Finding Neverland

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +3

Content: +4

Its 1904 in London in this fictional drama, and the whimsical, playful J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp), the creator of Peter Pan, hides his sadness by entertaining children. His latest play flopped, his producer (Dustin Hoffman) is becoming impatient with him, and his wife Mary (Radha Mitchell) criticizes his lack of ambition. To escape his marriage and career problems, Barrie retreats to the park to write in his journal. While there, he joins in the play of four rowdy boys, attracting the attention of their widowed mother, Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet). Barrie develops a deep and lasting friendship with Sylvia and her sons. Barrie mentors one of the boys, Peter, (Freddie Highmore) who is serious and depressed, and helps him by fostering his vivid imagination. Adults may enjoy this visually beautiful, heartwarming story more than children who are used to constant action. Brilliant performances are sure to draw Oscar attention.

Although his wife makes no effort to understand him, Barries giving up on the marriage is a sad situation. Only when Mary finally reads Barries journal does she have a clue about her husbands genius. His friendship to Sylvia and her sons becomes more important than his marriage or his work. Although there is no hint of a sexual relationship with Sylvia, Barrie clearly loves her. He understands Peters grief because of his own childhood. The friendship of Sylvia and Barrie becomes fertile ground for gossip of impropriety. Even Barries time spent with the boys raises eyebrows and invites ugly whispers suggesting hes a pedophile. Although this theme accounts for the films PG rating, it is a minor part of the story and will probably go over the heads of youngsters. There is no violence, sex or foul language, making Finding Neverland a winner for discerning viewers.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: None

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times mild (gossip implies that mans affection for children and widow has sexual connotations)

Drugs: None

Other: Man helps children work through grief with his gift of imagination, trauma of losing loved ones is addressed, cruelty of gossip affects marriage, portrays the importance of teaching children to express themselves in appropriate ways

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 7 to Adult

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.