I'm a big Johnny Depp fan, so when "Finding Neverland" opened at a theater near my house, I was first in line. Depp plays James Barrie, a playwright who receives the inspiration for "Peter Pan" while spending time with a lovely widow (Kate Winslet) and her four sons.
I liked the movie. A lot. My reasoning is based on the casting of Depp as a grown man who enjoys the company of children and believes in the power of imagination. Why? Because for a man over 40 years old, Depp has a eerie youthful quality that seems only to glow more as he ages. It really works here.
The story itself is a small, sweet tale about growing up (while not growing up) and making the choice to continue to believe in a certain type of magic. Those who know the story of Peter Pan will probably enjoy the depiction of Barrie and his quirks, as one would assume a grown-up who visits "Neverland" is a unique grown-up indeed. No need for any comparisons to Michael Jackson, although the film does touch lightly on the stigma involved with men and boys, and reveals that while Barrie's intentions were purely innocent, those around him didn't always see it that way.
I have a feeling that "Finding Neverland" will seem too slow for some of you, and perhaps it can be argued that nothing really happens, if you're looking for something loud and adventurous. But Peter Pan fans, Depp fans, and cinematic whimsy fans won't be disappointed. Bring your Kleenex.