Finding Neverland



Emotional J.M. Barrie biopoic isn't about Peter Pan.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • 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 Finding Neverland is a very emotional drama. 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.

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

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bycagseg April 9, 2008

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.
Adult Written byOlivePadfoot April 9, 2008

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 byAmeliaKaderWood June 29, 2009

Need to watch movie

All I can say is that this film was truly amazing. It was very touching and sad, this movie will definitely bring tears to your eyes. All thanks to the wonderful performance of talented cast. Johnny (Depp) does some superb acting (as usual) and Freddie (Highmore) was very impressive. But this film isn't about Peter Pan, it's about the author of the wonderful classic. So, don't expect any Pirates or fairies, although they do a stage play in the movie, and it has some of the characters from Neverland. Anyways, this film is really awesome, and I recommend it. But be prepared with some Tissue ;)


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