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Finding Neverland

Unlock your imagination 

Year: 2004 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC PG Cert – Parental guidance 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  
An image from Finding Neverland

Although coming to university is in many ways like reverting back to childhood all that fancy dress and a diet of chocolate and chips (wait maybe that's just me) - there's only so long you can prolong the inevitable: growing up. The classic tale of Peter Pan has captured imaginations for decades and the island of Neverland, home to flying fairies, cutthroat pirates and ticking crocodiles, is the fictional haven for eternal childhood.

Finding Neverland takes its inspiration from the life of the creative mind behind this story, author J.M.Barrie. Set in turn-of-the-century London, the film focuses on the writer's blossoming relationship with the Llewelyn Davies family after their initial meeting in Kensington Gardens. Barrie (Depp) finds that his friendship with the free-spirited widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet) and her four boys ignites a similar youthful exuberance and sense of possibility in his writing, and the story of Peter Pan emerges as a result of their summer of shared games and mischief.

But it's not all fun and laughter. The boys are grieving for their father, Barrie's marriage is in jeopardy and Sylvia is bravely attempting to shield her children from the knowledge of her own worsening illness. All these elements add up to a deeply moving and emotionally involving plot. The film does, however, avoid the pitfalls of sentimentality, thanks largely to the fantastic performances from the cast. Depp carries the film with a wonderfully understated performance but it really is an ensemble effort. Freddie Highmore sparkles as the young Peter and Dustin Hoffman is incredibly funny as the sceptical producer of the play.

Much of the film's charm lies in the way it seamlessly interweaves real life with the fantasy world of infinite possibility. This is beautifully realised in a scene where Neverland comes to life in the Llewelyn Davies household during a special performance for Sylvia. This film is a welcome burst of hope in a cynical world - a real old fashioned tearjerker. Do you believe in magic? This might just restore your faith in the power of imagination.

Bethan Way

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Screenings of this film:

2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)
2004/2005 Spring Term (35mm)