1903 London. Renowned playwright J.M. Barrie (James)'s latest effort has garnered less than positive reviews, something he knew would be the case even before the play's mounting. This failure places pressure on James to write another play quickly as impresario Charles Frohman needs another to replace the failure to keep his theater viable. Out for a walk with his dog in part to let his creative juices flow, James stumbles upon the Llewelyn Davies family: recently widowed Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (the daughter of now deceased author George L. Du Maurier) and her four adolescent sons. James and the family members become friends, largely based on he and the boys being able to foster in each other the imagination of children, James just being the biggest among them in this regard. Sylvia also welcomes James into their lives, he who becomes an important and integral part of it. Among the six of them, the only one who does not want to partake is Sylvia's third, Peter Llewelyn Davies, who is ...Written by
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to not be nominated for Best Director. See more »
There was much literary license taken regarding J.M. Barrie and his relationships with key characters. He and his wife didn't divorce until several years after the film's time period. Also, Sylvia's husband didn't die several years after the film; Sylvia didn't until 1910, six years after the Peter Pan premiere. Barrie knew the boys for several years before their apparent first meeting. See more »
He is always behind so many coats, hats, hairstyles and variations of powder, that I felt almost cringing how exposed Johnny Depp was. Somehow it felt brave. Yet it is brave; in repression in imagination, that shows the universe 'inside' encapsulates an entire theater of similar whimsy and magnitude. Its key exploring Barrie's romantic identity, though I'd conclude it's a small reading is its point, but one it makes a point in addressing. Basically because...the inside-outside is that romance and art functions as the same repression-expression, In stories... art, love and nature are always the enlightenment. So the film's initial basis is JM Barrie's motive so it's not unfair ground to conclude there is something there. Of course his nobility is its 'out' in showing him as harmless and longing to tap into purity and innocence sprung from pretentious bores being of use to no one. (Give the audience what they don't know they want.) But I could not ignore what the film itself was putting down: literally the couples retreat into different bedrooms not together; her into shadows, him into enlightened isolation of the mind. You can read that as imagination as proxy for the romantic, or you could read the impulse of love channeling into grand visions instead, as a pursuit beyond human understanding, as channeling the divine. "Be disciplined and reserved in life so you can be savage in your work." His presence then is healing and therapeutic by exposing them to this 'enlightenment.' See how the boy's emotional breakdown is destroying 'art.' The brave. "This isn't one of your plays." Sometimes Hollywood is so on the nose it achieves great insight. "I've only wanted good things for this family." Julie Christie wonders 'why'; -- from her perspective, he comes in, riots the children, kills the mother, for his own selfish pursuit. AKA the eternal as framing the inward through ritual therapy is uncomfortable for the repressed. "The boy is gone." It comes at a cost. See the consequences of 'art' as ritual payment for actualization. But the opposite is death by silence. Every one of them is envious of what Barrie has. See how her illness on opening night like cramping birthing pains. Art operates as this same inevitable force as life and death. How about the wonder of Dustin Hoffman's character being the second half of the spell. He doesn't understand 'why' but is deeply driven to do it. Both are so prim, proper and fashionable for 'why' requires our utmost. Notice how he never, ever intervenes. (The quotation of Hoffman as Captain Hook and Depp as Jack Sparrow were great.) As vivid and exciting as that feeling of something happening across it, the sorrowful sobering note it ends on is brave; the fade-out in Neverland with end text would have left a fine conclusion, but the film is interested in imparting the entire spectrum of wisdom, including art as both coming up short, as in it's not a process in therapy for the pains of living, but a form of living itself.
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