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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Play and creativity open up the imagination and lead to happiness. Barrie actively encourages kids to be creative.
Positive Role Models
While not perfect -- he neglects his wife to find inspiration by spending all his leisure hours in play with a young widow and her four young sons -- J.M. Barrie shows the importance of creative play and imagination as a means of finding joy and happiness and actively encourages one boy in particular to be a writer.
Violence & Scariness
A boy gets dropped from a harness, resulting in a broken wrist. Barrie plays let's-pretend games such as pirates and cowboys and Indians with four young boys, including imaginary gunfights and sword battles.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Barrie is informed by a friend that his keen interest and frequent visits to a widow and her four young boys is causing some in the neighborhood to gossip and make references to adultery and possible improper interest in the young boys.
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On the opening night of his play, a playwright asks an usher if he thinks his play is "shite" and "crap." Outdated references to Native Americans: "redskins," "Injuns."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine drinking at dinner; no one acts drunk. An actor sneaks drinks from a flask at a rehearsal.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Finding Neverland is a 2004 movie in which Johnny Depp plays J.M. Barrie, a struggling playwright who finds the inspiration to write the timeless classic Peter Pan after befriending a young widow played by Kate Winslet and her four sons. While it's about the background to the creation of Peter Pan, this is an emotional drama rather than lighthearted fare for kids. Barrie's marriage is falling apart as he spends more and more of his leisure time playing games with the four boys (causing some in Barrie's neighborhood to gossip about a possible affair with the widow and even inappropriate relations with the boys), and his wife has a new lover. These boys are still struggling to come to grips with the death of their father and face even more challenges when their mother becomes sick. While they're playing cowboys and Indians, there are some outdated references to Native Americans ("redskins," "Injuns"). As he observes through a curtain how bored the audience is with the play he has written before Peter Pan, Barrie asks an usher if he thinks the play is "shite" and "crap." In terms of violence, during a Peter Pan rehearsal, one of the boys, raised aloft by the ropes that create the illusion of Peter Pan "flying," is accidentally dropped from high in the air, resulting in a broken wrist. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The movie has some lovely images: Barrie and his wife open their separate bedroom doors. Behind hers is a bed. Behind his is Neverland. And, as in the timeless play itself, the pleasures of endless childhood in a world in which we lose a little more youth every day are movingly portrayed.
Depp, Winslet, and Christie give touching performances, but the question for a movie like this is whether it's as illuminating or entertaining as the work we see created. In this case, the answer is no. The fantasy sequences have more power, and the glimpses of the play itself are more appealing than the framing story. You keep wanting to tell them to get out of the way so that you, too, can get back to Neverland.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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