Finding Neverland

  • Review Date: March 19, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 106 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Not about Peter Pan, and not a kids' movie.
  • Review Date: March 19, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 106 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable

Pirate play, and a kid gets dropped from a harness. A sad death.


Mild references to adultery and possible improper interest in young boys.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking


Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this really isn't a kids' movie. It's about J.M. Barrie and his relationship with four boys who have lost their father before the movie begins and who lose their mother before it ends. Barrie's marriage breaks up because (among other things) his wife has a new boyfriend. It will probably disappoint younger kids who come expecting something Peter Pan-like. If you do go with your kids, you might talk about sources of imagination and creativity.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The story of the man who wrote about the boy who would not grow up has inspired this movie, loosely based on Peter Pan author James M. Barrie's relationship with the Davies boys and their mother. Playwright Barrie (Johnny Depp) has staged a recent flop, his producer (Dustin Hoffman) is getting impatient, and his wife (Radha Mitchell) finds him frustratingly distant. Then, Barrie meets the Davies children. Captured by their boyish imagination and touched by their loss, he begins to tell them stories and is eventually inspired to write a play about a boy who stays young forever. His relationship with the boys causes trouble with their grandmother (Julie Christie), who worries it will ruin her daughter(Winslet)'s chances for re-marriage. It further strains his marriage. Outsiders wonder if there is something improper going on. But all Barrie wants is to play pirates and Indians. The boys help him find enchantment -- they show him Neverland, and he shows it to the world.

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 is 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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why Barrie wanted to play with the boys and why he was sorry to see them grow up. What is the best part of being a child? What is the best part of being a grown-up? Also, for aspiring young writers, what adventures in your own life can lead to your next great story?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 12, 2004
DVD release date:March 22, 2005
Cast:Freddie Highmore, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet
Director:Marc Forster
Topics:Book characters, History
Run time:106 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild thematic elements and brief language

This review of Finding Neverland was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byOlivePadfoot April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A classic.

A brilliant movie with outstanding acting, use of color, storyline and emotion. The plot moves along graciously and effortlessly, captivating you and making this movie impossible to stop watching. I cry everytime at the end. Note that it contains many thematic elements that younger children may not understand or like.
Adult Written byksrh99 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A sophisticated movie fit for 11 and older

Finally ... a movie I can take my 12-year-old to that has more substance than drama queens and princess-wanna-bees but isn't full of inappropriate behaviors and language. A sophisticated and magical movie that makes you think. Well worth the ticket price. There is some content that may be a little too sad for those under 10. :)
Adult Written bycagseg April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A Good Story

Judging by the promos, this movie looks like it might be for children but it really isn't. While I enjoyed the story, sad ending and all, this movie will be too slow and emotional for pre-teens and children. Beautiful photography and special effects. Great acting by Johnny Depp.


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