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Darryl A. Armstrong

Finding Neverland

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From the IMDB:

Also, Dustin Hoffman's role (as an American theater impresario) in the picture should be a hoot. He worked in a "morphine-induced haze" after slicing half a finger off on his first day of shooting.
Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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FWIW, I believe that should be FINDING Neverland.

This film is coming out right around the same time as Huckabees and Meet the Fokkers. Maybe we can tell in what order the films (or scenes!) were shot by checking his hand.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Peter:

FWIW, I believe that should be FINDING Neverland.

Duly noted.

pokerface.gif

This film is coming out right around the same time as Huckabees and Meet the Fokkers. Maybe we can tell in what order the films (or scenes!) were shot by checking his hand.

I guess...

I just wonder what he was doing in Finding Neverland playing an "American theater impresario" that would result in him slicing off part of his finger. Or was the finger slicing an extracurricular activity?


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Maybe we can tell in what order the films (or scenes!) were shot by checking his hand.

Yeah but they can fix that with digital effects can't they... ? blush.gif


"The core purpose of art is a survival mechanism, and the way it helps us survive is by making us attentive." Milton Glaser

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Saw it at one of the many previews showings around here last weekend. I look forward to Steven's thoughts since he's a Pan fan.

One slightly disconcerting observation. There were a few places in the films where there was a bit of a ghost flutter around the shoulders of people in light color clothing. I don't know if it was a projection problem or a problem in the print. For me it was a bit distracting.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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A couple other thoughts. Depp's brogue struck me more as Irish that Scottish (not that I'm a brogue expert).

And the film is rated PG. Nothing in it to justify it being higher, but I really see it more appealing to adults than to kids.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Ooooh... seems I can add posts again... goodie!

This was an odd film. Perhaps because the subject has always been a little hazy, and I suppose I know more about it than the average viewer because I did some research on Peter Pan at uni. There's been endless amounts of debate about Barrie's relationship with the Lewellyn-Davies children (largely due to peter's suicide in later life, and the drowning of one of the other brothers which may have been a suicide) and I have to say I was gratified to see it put all the speculation to one side and be flippant about keeping a historical record. Made the film much more watchable and gave it more substance than if it was just about a specific relationship.

As for the PG. I did wonder about that. There were a few children at the screening I went to which surprised me (partly because I arrived late and didn't see them until leaving). It's not a children's film but equally it isn't a film that can't be watched by them. Some subtleties may elude children, but equally as the film demonstrates by retelling the opening night of Peter Pan some subtleties may elude adults and speak to children.

As for Depp's performance. He fitted the character perfectly. He embodies the theme of eternal youth (honestly, will he always be so painfully good looking?) and he underplayed Barrie in such a way that made into the best kind of hero - a softly spoken one.


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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Gigi, what about the relationship between Barrie and Mrs. Llewelyn Davies; was it as platonic as in the film?


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Everyone seems to agree on that point, yes it was.

What is different, and would clarify this point greatly in the film, is that Mr Llewellyn Davies was alive when Barrie first met the family. He disapproved of the friendship quite strongly, that is until he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and then asked Barrie to look after his family when he died. Mrs Llewellyn Davies died a few years later. All in all, it's a pretty tragic family story. I didn't mention that a third brother died during the war. Poor Barrie seemed to be doomed to have anyone close to him die.


"There is, it would seem, in the dimensional scale of the world a kind of delicate meeting place between imagination and knowledge, a point, arrived at by diminishing large things and enlarging small ones, that is intrinsically artistic" - Vladimir Nabokov

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Darrel Manson wrote:

: Depp's brogue struck me more as Irish that Scottish . . .

Same here.

I caught it with the fianc

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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From J. Robert Parks' review of Finding Neverland, at Looking Closer Journal.

One of the great things about Finding Neverland is how it moves from the realistic to the magical. One moment, everyone's playing Cowboys and Indians in the back yard, and the next moment director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) seamlessly places us in a gorgeous, artificial set. Forster does the same thing as we see Barrie writing Peter Pan from his experiences with the Davies boys. In a spectacularly gorgeous scene, a bedtime moment where the boys are jumping on their beds turns into the genesis of Peter Pan flying through the air. The movie relies on the old chestnut that writers find all their material from their own lives, but Forster and writers Allan Knee and David Magee use the device so naturally that it rings true.

The writing in Finding Neverland is sharp and witty, as you'd expect from a movie based on a play. In one scene, as Peter Davies has finally come out of his shell and written his own work, he remarks, "It's a little bit of silliness," and Barrie quickly responds, "I should hope so." It helps enormously that Johnny Depp is the essence of charm. Imagine combining his Buster Keaton impersonation from Benny & Joon with his sashaying performance in Pirates of the Caribbean. And his tender scenes with Kate Winslet, who's always fine as an alluring free spirit, are marvelous. The boys are perfectly played, and Julie Christie has a small role as the mean, old mother. Only an unnecessary coda breaks the spell. It's as if Forster wanted to bring us back from Neverland, lest we never leave the theater.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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I wonder if there is a a sense where familiarity with Barrie and Peter Pan leads you to be a bit more critical of this film. I think we know that if there is a biblical film, I will likely by hypercritical of it. Do you think that without your background in Pan that you would be a bit more tolerant?


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Absolutely a possibility, Darrel. Quite likely in fact. I don't know but I would need more viewings to try to separate out my reactions as a Peter Pan fan from my responses to the film in itself, if indeed I could do such a thing.

That said, the outside reviews that resonate the most for me are the ones that find the film, to ring a change on a line from Pan, "an awfully small adventure."


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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This review from The New Yorker makes some interesting points, I thought.

Maybe this post also belongs in LITERATURE?


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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Wow. That's a good article.


Subtlety is underrated

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On another forum, where another Barrie fan and I were expressing our lukewarmness about the film, a third participant asked me the same question Darrel did above, prompting a slightly more in-depth response this time around:

While I freely admit that my fondness for Barrie is a factor in my apathy regarding this film, I don't believe it's the case that I'm just bound and determined to dislike any attempt to capture the man.

After all, I'm ten times the C. S. Lewis nut that I am a Barrie aficionado, and I liked
Shadowlands
just fine. And Thomas More is both my favorite saint and the subject of one of my favorite films,
A Man for All Seasons
.

But then -- and this is the key, I think -- in writing
A Man for All Seasons
, Robert Bolt (who also wrote
Lawrence of Arabia
and
The Mission
) was at pains to preserve the quality of More's voice, partly by using excerpts from the man's own writing, and, in Bolt's own words, "for the rest [seeking] to match with these as best I could so that the theft should not be too obvious.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Do you think it's winning Best Picture from the National Board of Review means it has a good shot at winning the Oscar? Frankly, I'm shocked at that result. The NBR often has a screwy top ten list, but this is really unexpected.


P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Do you think it's winning Best Picture from the National Board of Review means it has a good shot at winning the Oscar? Frankly, I'm shocked at that result. The NBR often has a screwy top ten list, but this is really unexpected.

It will probably get a nomination, but the NBR isn't that great at predicting Oscar winners. Of that past ten NBR winners, only American Beauty went on to get the Oscar, and two (Quills and Gods and Monsters) weren't even nominated.

2003 - Mystic River

2002 - The Hours

2001 - Moulin Rouge

2000 - Quills

1999 - American Beauty

1998 - Gods and Monsters

1997 - L.A. Confidential

1996 - Shine

1995 - Sense and Sensibility

1994 - Pulp Fiction


"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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Peter Pan's dark side

Curiously, given our culture's morbid fascination with pedophilia, a current biopic of Barrie, Neverland, takes a normalized view of its subject. In life, Barrie looked nothing like virile Johnny Depp. Barely five feet tall, with a gnome-like high forehead and curling mustaches, he was something of a Pan-like "betwixt and between." As one biographer said: "He was old but not grown up." He was almost certainly a homosexual, the likely reason for his marriage's failure. Nobody today would believe that Barrie's all-consuming adoration of his muses, the Lewellyn Davies boys, was normal or benign, however sexually circumscribed his behaviour with them.

Barbara Kay, National Post, December 22


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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The charge that Barrie was "almost certainly homosexual" is not, I believe, supported by the evidence. The word "asexual" is widely used to characterize him, and this may well approximate the truth. In the words of director Marc Forster:

Barrie had this child within him... There's this debate going on which you may be aware of: was he a pedophile or was he not a pedophile? All the historians say he wasn't and the kids he adopted say he wasn't and I asked the granddaughter and she said he wasn't.

Everyone says he was asexual and he had a very asexual relationship with his first wife.

So that's one thing I actually appreciate about this film. If only it had managed to capture something of the true whimsy of Barrie's imagination.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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Saw this one after Christmas and enjoyed it, although I'm not sure I'd consider it best picture material. Loved some of the imaginary flourishes, like Barrie imagining the boys flying out of their windows Pan-style, and Winslet's introduction to "Neverland."

Depp is always a pleasure to watch; I can't recall a role he's done that wasn't convincing. Never been a Winslet fan, but after seeing this and Eternal Sunshine a few weeks ago, she's moved up several notches in my book.

It struck me that two former headliners, Dustin Hoffman and Julie Christie, faded into the scenery in roles that could have been played by anyone else. Hoffman isn't working very hard these days, is he? happy.gif

Overall, it'll be the kind of movie I'll have to think real hard about to remember in a few years.


"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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Mark wrote:

: Hoffman isn't working very hard these days, is he?

Hard, maybe not. Often, yes, what with Finding Neverland, I Heart Huckabees, Meet the Fockers, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (okay, so it's only a cameo) and the upcoming Racing Stripes. Five movies in three or four months? That's just one movie shy of Jude Law's six (and one better than Don Cheadle's four). (And then there is Ben Stiller, who appeared in at least six movies over the course of 2005 -- but that spans the entire year.)


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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