Monday, November 1, 2004

Film Review: Finding Neverland

Well I went to the cinema on Halloween night expecting to watch The Grudge but it was sold out. Instead it was Finding Neverland then.

Ah Johnny Depp. He was excellent in the last film I saw him in - The Pirates of the Caribbean. Kate Winslet was not so in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

The first 10 minutes of the film was fine. Then the 'Scottish' accent kicked in. It was very weird watching an American actor trying to speak in another accent other than their Hollywood one. I had a feeling that Johnny Depp could have pulled a better accent out of his tongue but was asked to speak in a slower gear as not to confuse the untrained American ears who are expected to pay to watch this. I pulled a bunch of reviews from the internet and most weren't disturbed by the accent. In fact the only people who noticed that the accent was weird were British reviewers. Am I correct in stating that this film (and his accent) was targeted at an American audience? I think so!

The next one hour was tedious to watch. Here you have a guy, who was ignoring his beautiful wife (and sleeping in a separate bedroom), hanging out with a widow and four kids (the true story has five children) everyday. You could see if this was happening in today's modern society, the playwright J.M. Barrie who Depp's plays would have been arrested immediately and sent to prison or tagged for the rest of his pitiful life. I felt that the scene where his wife Mary was 'caught chatting' with another guy was deliberately inserted to shift the blame to her.

In any case - this film was very fake. The story was obviously based on a true story, but truths has been distorted as with most Hollywood films. Some of the flaws are more apparent than others such as Barrie actually knew the Davies's family long before Sylvia became a widow. But even so, even if the flaws were not real flaws - the film as a whole was disturbing. The acting was average at best - and certainly not worthy of Oscar consideration. The whole Sylvia-Barrie relationship should not have took center stage.

Yes the film is a fictional version of what was a true story. I wished Hollywood would stop doing such things like rewriting the history. If they wanted to tell a story about a playwright who befriended a family - then do so - but do not base it on real people who once live.

But even if the issue of straying away from the real truth does not matter to the viewer (it did not to me at first), Finding Neverland totally lack substance and direction. You would really need to be in fantasy land to be able to digest this film properly.


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