Depp Goes Deep in "Finding Neverland"
The Netflix festival continued this week with "Finding Neverland," and it's a much nicer place than "Hollywoodland." This is due primarily to the presence of Johnny Depp rather than Ben Affleck. Depp and Affleck are opposites on the acting spectrum. Unlike Affleck, Depp subsumes his personality and ego until they disappear into his characters, and instead portrays the pure essence of the character.
In the case of Depp's J.M. Barrie, the Scottish creator of "Peter Pan," the character is a creative genius who is so in touch with his inner child that he befriends a widow, Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her young sons and spends nearly all of his time play acting with them. Their interactions, desires and wishes result in Barrie's creation of "Peter Pan," which, to the surprise of Barrie's producer, Charles Frohman (Dustin Hoffman), becomes a smash hit among adults and children alike. At the same time, Barrie has to deal with a crumbling marriage to his wife Mary (Radha Mitchell) and the disapproval of Sylvia's mother, played by Julie Christie. In handling these situations with varying degrees of success, Barrie is shown to be not an irresponsible man-boy, but rather, a complex, creative, loving person. Johnny Depp tackles all aspects of Barrie with complete success, and fully deserves his Oscar nomination for Best Actor (contrast that with Affleck's Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor in "Hollywoodland").
"Finding Neverland" had me laughing, smiling and blubbering like an idiot at different points. This film is a tribute to the sense of wonder that, although sometimes deeply buried, is present in all of us.