57. Finding Neverland - The Part-Time Critic

Thursday, June 25, 2009

57. Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland (2004)
Directed by Marc Forster

Finding Neverland is a creative and heartwarming ode to the imagination. Charges of the film being ‘saccharine’ and ‘schmaltzy’ are not without cause, but Finding Neverland seems to be able to overcome its inherent sentimentality to become (like In America) a magical film experience for me.

There are times when the ideas of ‘Neverland’ are a bit juvenile (“You can visit your mom in Neverland any time you like”), but there are also some scenes that perfectly deliver childhood imagination and wonder through the lens of a grownup. I take particular joy in director Marc Forster’s use of his camera and special effects to create these sequences. Forster takes possible mundane sequences like flying a kite in the park, dancing with a dog, and playing pirates, and with a restrained flair creates sequences that even Michel Gondry would be proud of.

My favorite sequence, because it encapsulates everything this film has to offer, is when Peter watches the “To die would be an awfully big adventure” sequence during the Peter Pan play. Forsters’ flying camera through the playhouse that ends on Peter’s startled face gets to me every time.

There are many other pleasures to be had in the film (including all-around great performances and art direction), but one of the most distinguished is the musical score. Parts whimsical, magical, and fantastical, but still grounded in a somewhat conventional film score. It’s not the deepest of films and it’s a film that is quite easy to nitpick apart; however, it’s also a film that never fails to reach inside and move me. For that, I have found Finding Neverland to be one of the films I just can’t live without.

1 comment:

  1. I tear up every time during the play scene. Starting with the orphans arriving to the very scene you described. "To die would be an awfully big adventure"