Great reviews continue to pour in for Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Scottish playwright J. M. Barrie in FINDING NEVERLAND. A generous sampling is posted on our News & Views forum–here are a few nibbles to whet your appetite:
David Brudnoy writes: “This new film, starring the inexhaustibly multi-talented Johnny Depp, manages at once to create the hint of a romance that never flourished, with the widowed mother of a quartet of young boys, a smidgen of danger, in the forbidding character of her mother, Mrs. DuMaurier (Julie Christie), and an invitation into the world of imagination that is in many ways as lovely as is the play itself. [. . .] Predictions are always dicey but I offer these: Oscar nominations for Depp and the film, perhaps others. . . .”
From Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune: “It’s an intellectual family film for literate parents and children, immensely pleasing if not perfect [. . .]. But it does have the perfect actor for Barrie: Johnny Depp, who can play a child-man without seeming effete or precious. Here, he delightfully re-creates Barrie as a whimsical Edwardian dandy in impeccably elegant waistcoats. With his bright, boyish eyes and virile gentleness, Depp turns himself into a real-life Pan, an unselfconsciously playful fellow who never quite grew up but still feels the pain of those who did. You can’t imagine a better movie Barrie. [. . .] FINDING NEVERLAND has a radiance that comes primarily from Depp’s performance but finally suffuses the whole movie–with its marvelous cast and lovingly created images of a British Edwardian past that, in part because of Peter Pan and Wendy, is lodged affectionately in many readers’ hearts.”
Jeff Strickler of the Minnepolis Star Tribune writes that Johnny’s work as Barrie “arguably is his best performance and certainly his most challenging. [. . .]Depp is the glue that holds [the film] together, perfectly merging the prim outward trappings of London society with the unbridled enthusiasm of a runaway imagination. It’s a performance that speaks of fairy dust.”
Andrew Sarris sees subtle mastery in Johnny’s performance, and has high praise for the film as a whole: “Mr. Depp’s portrayal of Barrie is marvelously discreet, just subtle enough to let the well-placed fantasy sequences run rampant without undermining the central narrative. Mr. Depp thus expresses through Barrie a quiet fanaticism at work, a stubborn belief in the spiritual supremacy of childhood in human existence. [. . .] The integration of childhood and adulthood has never been more felicitously achieved than it has here, with the perfect casting of Mr. Depp, Ms. Winslet, Ms. Christie, Ms. Mitchell and Mr. Hoffman on the grown-up side, in tandem with the Llewelyn Davies brothers. [. . .]As a work of art, FINDING NEVERLAND establishes its limits and then transcends them to provide a glorious entertainment for this holiday season.”
The Zone thanks DeepinDepp and Yellow Rose for posting the reviews, which can be read in their entirety on the News & Views forum.