Finding Neverland

Bomb Rating: 

This is a movie that is guaranteed to get every halfwit in the country raving about what a moving story it is. Johnny Depp plays J.M. Barrie, the writer of "Peter Pan," and this is the tale of how he was inspired to come up with the fantastical story of Peter Pan and Neverland. Basically, he meets Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet) and her kids and learns their tragic story. He's particularly motivated by young Peter (Freddie Highmore), who seems to lack imagination. The poor boy hasn't quite recovered from the death of his father and refuses to believe anything he's told, which makes him one of those kids you want to kick across the room.

"Finding Neverland" is about as predictable as an "um" from Britney Spears during an interview. Barrie is in a loveless marriage with his wife, Mary Barrie (Radha Mitchell), and he's had a string of failed plays, which doesn't make theater owner Charles Frohman (Dustin Hoffman) too happy. Just an aside, but there are a lot of things Hoffman seems to do better than many actors. Unfortunately, a British accent isn't one of them. Pathetically, he's just above Kevin Costner in that category.

So, Barrie lacking both a successful play and a good marriage, is immediately taken with Sylvia and her kids. Despite this film's Victorian sensibilities, Sylvia is clearly looking for a little nooky and so is Barrie. Apparently, Barrie knows that widows are especially hard up for nooky, so he's all over Sylvia like mustard on a hot dog. As for her kids, Barrie is creatively inspired by them. So basically, he uses the family both for his personal success and sexual satisfaction. This does not go unnoticed by Sylvia's mother (Julie Christie). Of course, the film paints Barrie as a complete saint and the mother as a bad person because she's old and Barrie wouldn't want to screw her anyway.

While there will undoubtedly be many a filmgoer bawling through the last half of this movie, the plot developments are more obvious than flies around Courtney Love. Let's see, we already know "Peter Pan" turns out to be a great success. But what happens when Sylvia develops that nasty cough? Will Barrie abandon her kids? Will Sylvia's mother take the kids away? Will the forces of proper society tear Barrie and Sylvia's relationship apart? And will Mr. Cranky tear out what little hair he has left?

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