Time: 106 mins.
Won Academy Award for Best Score. Nominations for Best Actor (Depp), Best Art Direction, Costume, Film Editing, Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture.
SYNOPSIS: Desperately in need of a hit, playwriter J.M. Barrie finally finds inspiration when he meets the children of the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. He becomes a friend of the family and Sylvia becomes his muse with their lives and personalities serving as the source of his newfound creativity which he turns into the play "Peter Pan."
BOTTOM LINE: Depp clearly has a penchant for playing character's outside the norm of society and his portrayal of J.M. Barrie is no exception. Sure, he may not have weird hair or scissors for hands, but the playwright who conjured up the classic world of Neverland was far from a "normal" man for his time. It's Depp's love of the oddball that clearly enables him to make them lovable and entirely real. Barrie was a quirky, lonely man who preferred the world between his ears to the life he found himself in. When he meets the kindred spirit of Sylvia Davies a woman trying to escape her tragic existence as well magic happens. He finds friendship, acceptance and love amongst her and her sons and their relationship is lovely to watch unfold.
There are plenty of people, including his wife and her mother, who fail to understand and certainly don't approve of their connection, yet Barrie refuses to abandon his newfound friends in their time of need. Both Depp and Winslet have the ability to play childlike without being silly or childish, which this film definitely requires. They both give solid performances that make you yearn for friends like these. Freddie Highmore will take your breath away as the young boy who inspires the Peter Pan character. His performance is pitch perfect, giving the film true depth without making it overly sentimental. He will break your heart. In the end, what makes this film different from most period melodramas are the scenes that take place inside Barrie's imagination. Forster seemlessly intertwines these colorful set pieces into the rest of the film, making them seem like magic while they transport both the characters and the audience out of everyday reality. This is a carefully, and lovingly, drawn character piece that defintely deserves a look.