261. Finding Neverland

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Movie: Finding Neverland

Release Date: November 12, 2004

Director: Marc Forster

Starring: Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Radha Mitchell, Dustin Hoffman, Freddie Highmore.

Tag Lines: “Unlock your imagination.”

“How far can your imagination take you.”

“Where will your imagination take you?”

Relevance: One could say that I am a Johnny Depp fan. ‘Finding Neverland’ is his fifth film as part of this ongoing project, and he still has two more to come later on this year. (See 315. Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 302. Chocolat, 293. Ed Wood and 267. Edward Scissorhands to find what I thought about his first four entries.) I also adore Kate Winslet. She is my forever girl crush. She has already shown up her once before (see 284. Little Children) and will be popping up again and again. So it was no surprise in late 2004 that I was one of the first people in line to see ‘Finding Neverland.’

With that said, I was not a fan of the character of Peter Pan. I’m not really sure why. I just never enjoyed the story of someone who wouldn’t grow up. I appreciate the idea of it, but as a child all I wanted to do was grow up. That didn’t mean I wanted to “act my age” (cause I still don’t) but I so wanted to be an adult. And I couldn’t wait until I was. I did not like the Disney version of the story and although I enjoyed aspects of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Hook,’ you won’t find it here on this list.

Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet overshadowed the Peter Pan aspect of the movie and I absolutely fell in love with it, not that it was any surprise. I was completely moved by the story and the acting was top-notch. I didn’t know who Freddie Highmore was at the time, but he took my breath away as young Peter. Every time I watch “Bates Motel” or “The Good Doctor” I am reminded of how great of an actor he truly is and my mind brings me back to this film. After I watched it, I researched J. M. Barrie and read the play “The Man Who Was Peter Pan” by Allan Knee, of which the film was based. Since its release there was a Broadway musical produced that I have always wanted to check out and hopefully I will get to see a tour of it one day. I wouldn’t say ‘Finding Neverland’ made me a Peter Pan fan, but I do give the story a lot more respect than I had in the past.

Today’s Thoughts: I watch (at least) one movie every day, but I do some preparation weekly so that this blog does not become overwhelming. For instance, every week I take my list of most influential movies down to my basement and look through my movie collection. I pull out the DVD’s or Blu-Ray’s that I will be watching that week and bring them upstairs. If there are certain movies I do not own, and there have been a few, I then go through Netflix, Amazon Prime and On Demand to see how I will be watching the rest. ‘Finding Neverland’ is a movie I own on DVD and it has been piled in with the other movies next to my television. But since last Friday, it has been staring at me, taunting me and I was dreading its viewing.

It’s not because I don’t like the movie. I do. Very much. It is a part of this list after all. It’s just that I know the ending. And I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to handle it. So with trepidation, (and a box of Kleenex) I watched it today, because one never strays from the list.

Everything was going so well until Kate Winslet started coughing. I then became a little uncomfortable. I felt a knot in the bottom of my stomach. As the movie progressed, I actually became a little nauseous and contemplated turning off the movie. But obviously I am a masochist and stubborn as hell so I continued on. By the time Johnny Depp brings his play to her home for a “scaled down” performance, I am weeping. As she walked through “Neverland,” I was a complete mess. But I made it through the worst of it, or so I thought.

Freddie Highmore and Johnny Depp have a very touching scene at the end of the movie on a park bench where the characters first met. I remembered the scene, but not the exact dialogue. I wish I had. I might have turned it off. As soon as I heard, “It’s just, I thought she’d always be here.” and “But why did she have to die?” I completely lost my shit, weeping uncontrollably and might I add very loudly. Thankfully I was alone. Fucking Freddie Highmore.

‘Finding Neverland’ is a beautiful drama, fantasy that comes very highly recommended. I just wouldn’t watch it the same week that your mom passes away. It might be too much. Unfortunately for me, that’s what happened. My mom, the woman hugely responsible for my love of movies and Hollywood is no longer on this planet. So take it from me, it was definitely too much. But maybe I needed that cry. Maybe I needed to purge it from system. As a mess as I was afterwards, I will cling to the last words of the film for the rest of my life.

“… And you can visit her any time you like if you just go there yourself.”

“How?”

“By believing…Just believe.”

“I can see her.”

RIP Chrissy.

Awards: Academy Award for Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek (winner), Academy Award for Best Motion Picture of the Year (nomination), Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Johnny Depp (nomination), Academy Award for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, David Magee (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Film Editing, Matt Chesse (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Art Direction, Gemma Jackson, Trisha Edwards (nomination), Academy Award for Best Achievement in Costume Design, Alexandra Byrne (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Drama (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Director, Marc Forster (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama, Johnny Depp (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Screenplay, Davod Magee (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Score, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Direction, Marc Forster (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Johhny Depp (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, Kate Winslet (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role, Julie Christie (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay – Adapted, David Magee (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Film Music, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography, Roberto Schaefer (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Production Design, Gemma Jackson (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design, Alexandra Byrne (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best Make Up/Hair, Christine Blundell (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role, Johnny Depp (nomination), Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Freddie Highmore (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Family Film (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Young Actor, Freddie Highmore (winner), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Director, Marc Forster (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor, Johnny Depp (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress, Kate Winslet (nomination), Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Writer, David Magee, Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Marc Forster (nomination), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Board of Review Award for Best Film (winner), National Board of Review Award for Outstanding Film Music Composition, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek (nomination), PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures, Richard N. Gladstein, Nellie Bellflower (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, DVD Availability.

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