Thursday, December 02, 2004

Finding 'my own' Neverland

Life is full of coincidences. My decision to watch Finding Neverland last night because we were late for The Incredibles was a sound piece of timing for me.

Watching the climactic 30 minutes of this film about the inspiration behind Peter Pan allowed me the chance to lose myself in a way I hadn't thought possible anymore.

Peter Pan, more than anything is an adults story. It may make the children laugh but it is the adults that find real meaning in it's tale of the boy who refused to grow up. And in Marc Forsters account of JM Barries life we find a truly magical tale of a man out of place in the rigid upper echelons of British Society.

I don't need to tell anyone that Johnny Depp is fantastic. As always, his performance is remarkable and he captures the essence of Barrie as a boy who is trapped in a land full of adults. But this is very much an ensemble piece, and from Kate Winslets ailing muse to Dustin Hoffmans gentle performance as Barries backer there is not a single poor performer. Special mention must go out to young Freddie Highmore as Peter Llewelyn Davies. His deeply emotional display makes the journey into the land we adults have forgotten that much easier and it's hard not to look into those deep eyes and not be amazed by his talent at such a young age.

Every once in a while a movie comes along that touches me in a way I find both compelling and inspiring. I haven't cried in a movie for a very long time and even I was surprised at my complete loss of self-control in the cinema. This movie, much like the play that inspired it opens a door to a place many would give anything to return to. A place of innocence and magic.

For a brief period last night I lost myself in the idea that there is more to life than this. It wasn't just a case of looking back to a childhood lost but also forward toward a fuller life. As adults we are so consumed in our monotonous daily lives, from the constant pressure of our financial obligations to the dead-end jobs we spend our most productive years trapped in. We are so consumed by it all that we lose sight of the very dreams and aspirations that made us unique as children.

This film is an inspiration. So much so, that for the first morning in a long time, I drove to work with smile on my face.

Finding Neverland: 10/10

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