Finding Neverland


Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 38
  2. Negative: 0 out of 38

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Depp and Winslet in particular are, as you might expect, immaculate. I don't think there's another actor alive who can convey the intermingling of gentleness and passion with as much precision as Depp.
  2. It's a real pleasure to find a movie as calm, measured and dead-on in its impact as Finding Neverland.
  3. 88
    Glorious entertainment.
  4. It's an intellectual family film for literate parents and children, immensely pleasing if not perfect, perhaps a smidgen too brightly evasive and determinedly charming.
  5. 88
    The glory of the movie is Depp, who achieves his own immortality.
  6. Johnny Depp has finally won me over to rabid support after "Neverland" and "Pirates of the Caribbean." He gives the most controlled, least mannered performance of his career, staying sweet and rueful while suggesting unseen emotional depths.
  7. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Mingling reality and fantasy, Forster has given us a luminous, touching meditation on life and art.
  8. A rewarding piece of filmmaking that has all the makings of a classic weepie.
  9. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    An impeccably made and genuinely moving account of how Scottish author J.M. Barrie came to write "Peter Pan."
  10. Gently seductive, genuinely tender and often moving without being maudlin.
  11. Depp is a charm. He becomes his own, subtly compelling Barrie.
  12. 78
    Takes you back to a time in which people – children, in particular – still created whole worlds in their heads, inventing characters and situations as far away as their flights of fancy would take them.
  13. Depp portrays a fellow who is openly gentle to the core, and the actor just about wraps the movie around his lilting delivery and quiescent gaze.
  14. 75
    Compelling and life-affirming.
  15. Forster keeps the picture as a whole in perfect tune with Depp's approach.
  16. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The story is told gently and simply without excess sentimentality. It is a welcome departure from more contrived holiday fare.
  17. Delightful and moving - although fanciful.
  18. Because it's a well-crafted and superbly acted sweet little tearjerker, we're content too -- it's a mild pleasure to watch.
  19. 70
    The plays and amusements the boys put on--by far the most successfully magical scenes in the movie--inspire Barrie to create his great work, "Peter Pan."
  20. The film rests on Depp's evocation of Barrie's gentle, playfulness and deeply buried sorrows; it's difficult to imagine another actor so gracefully evoking Barrie's childlike qualities without seeming creepy or emotionally malformed, and only the hard of heart will come away dry-eyed.
  21. 70
    A worthwhile way to spend some of your precious leisure time, especially in this season of obnoxious cartoons and ham-handed holiday fare.
  22. We have a whole new reason to appreciate cinema's most creative chameleon (Depp) since Peter Sellers. The film itself is pretty and sweet but a tad soggy.
  23. 67
    Handsome, professional and dutiful, but it never feels inspired.
  24. 63
    Washes over you with an enjoyable gloss, and it might even make you cry a little, but it evaporates in memory like fairy dust.
  25. 63
    It's a portrait of the artist as Mary Poppins.
  26. 60
    It just doesn't have the buoyancy, or the resonance, that this kind of semifactual flight of fancy needs.
  27. 60
    You're expected to weep, and perhaps you will weep. But if you do, it's not likely that you'll respect yourself in the morning.
  28. 50
    Depp and Highmore's final scene together strikes a muted blow of desolation -- bottomless but just bearable -- that Forster rather bravely lets stand as the last word on all the fanciful solace that Barrieland had to offer.
  29. 50
    Surprisingly wan film.
  30. A handsome-looking film about the writer and his unripe inspirations, the actor Johnny Depp neither soars nor crashes, but moseys forward with vague purpose and actorly restraint.
  31. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Takes liberties with its hero, which is hardly a crime (the real-life Barrie was extremely childlike), but the movie chases after magic with overproduced fantasy sequences, and a feel-good, literalist climax that betrays the very notion of imagination as a force superior to reality.
  32. A sappy excursion to Edwardian days.
  33. Precious and uninsightful but ends beautifully.
  34. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Finding Neverland takes a big, brave leap and lands splat on the sidewalk.
  35. 40
    Forster's movie doesn't want to grow up, but it doesn't seem to understand childhood, either. For a film about the life-affirming power of imagination, Finding Neverland displays precious little of its own.
  36. Dismal and heavy, and the failure rests chiefly with Johnny Depp, who plays Barrie.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 190 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 72 out of 87
  2. Negative: 5 out of 87
  1. Dec 25, 2013
    Finding Neverland is too much too late. During the last hour or so it began to engage me, and by the end it was actually somewhat moving.Finding Neverland is too much too late. During the last hour or so it began to engage me, and by the end it was actually somewhat moving. That doesn't change the fact that the first 40 minutes were extremely boring. And when I say extremely I mean horrendously. It just seemed so repetitive and pointless during that section. There wasn't any adult drama. Just Johnny Depp playing make believe with a couple of kids and their mom. This could have worked if it wasn't done so blandly, and if it was rendered more convincingly. Yes it does eventually become involving. Its story takes some formulaic but effective turns, and the acting was solid, but it should have been good from the get go. The production design and cinematography were pretty throughout but nothing groundbreaking. You may like the movie more than I did. I thought it was decent, but I'm not sure if it was worth enduring the first forty minutes. Full Review »
  2. Feb 2, 2013
    A heart-warming and charming film about the story behind the inspiration for Peter Pan, and on the value of tenaciously being true toA heart-warming and charming film about the story behind the inspiration for Peter Pan, and on the value of tenaciously being true to yourself, enjoying the authentic relationships that that renders, and making this life worth living for the brief time that we have it. I think it tactfully teaches that marriage is to be taken seriously before one enters into the contract, and I think that that is an important message for our modern world. While the movie is child appropriate it isn’t especially child friendly, unless they are precocious I think that they may very well bore of it; the movie is really more for adults. If the kids are interested however they are certainly welcome. I have no complaints about this film. Dramas aren’t my first preference when it comes to entertainment, but if you like dramas I have to imagine you will love Finding Neverland. Clean nostalgia evoking thought provoking heartfelt fun. Full Review »
  3. Nov 21, 2015
    Finding Neverland is an absolutely brilliant film. Rarely does a film move me to tears, but this one absolutely succeeded. Packed to the brimFinding Neverland is an absolutely brilliant film. Rarely does a film move me to tears, but this one absolutely succeeded. Packed to the brim with magic, imagination, fun, and a childlike wonder, this film inspires hope and belief, all while tearing you down emotionally. I know it may not be as historically accurate as some would hope, but this is what a biopic should be. It covers the relevant topics and still touches you in a way only fiction can, a truly challenging task for most biopics. Johnny Depp is fantastic here, as are Kate Winslet and all of the young Davies boys. The film's magic and sense of wonder it inspires never really ceases, but certainly extends to the overall message of the film that captures the essence of Peter Pan as well; just believe. The film's cinematography is great, especially the final sequence with Sylvia and the score is also very well done. Finally, the plays within a film that get put on throughout the film are fantastic and brilliantly done, capturing that same imagination and suspension of reality. Finding Neverland is a truly wondrous work. Full Review »