Good On Netflix: Finding Neverland

Plot Summary:
Finding Neverland is a refreshingly magical take on the life of playwright J.M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) and how his relationship with a widow (Kate Winslet) and her four sons led to the creation of Peter Pan.

Why It Makes My List:
It's hard to say what Johnny Depp's 'best' performance is but his portrayal of J.M. Barrie has to be my favorite; he brings an educated naiveté, childish wonder and tenderness to the role, which is arguably the heart of the film. Depp's sensibilities work wonderfully well with then child star Freddie Highmore, who delivers an emotional, heartfelt performance as Peter Davies. While this film is a drama, its charming cast and emotionally satisfying story make for an inspiring film.

Other Reasons to Watch:
  1. Elegantly Simple Score: In contrast to the booming, pulse-pounding scores of many blockbuster films, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek composed an understated but supremely satisfying score to compliment the emotionally powerful scenes. 
  2. Magical: There are a few moments when, without crossing into the realm of fantasy, the magic of Neverland permeates the film. If you love Peter Pan and want to experience the enchanting origins of the story, this film is a must-see.
  3. Johnny Depp Shines in an Atypical Role: Johnny Depp has a history of playing some rather odd and usually dark characters (i.e. Sweeney Todd, Dark Shadows, etc.). His role as J.M. Barrie couldn't be further from those and makes me wish that he would step out of his creepy character comfort zone more often.
Reasons to Pass:
  1. Not Flashy or Exciting: If you love action, explosions and fight scenes, you won't see any of that in this film. If you're looking for Captain Jack in Pirates of the Caribbean - this isn't it.
  2. Emotional Investment: There are scenes and moments that will make your spirit soar, others that you may want to cry, and some will do both. If you're unwilling to ride the emotional highs and lows or just want a feel-good comedy, Finding Neverland may be too great an emotional investment. 
Finding Neverland is currently Good on Netflix. If and when it is no longer on Netflix, you can find it for rental or purchase Here.
As always, I recommend checking out the Parents Guide just so that you are aware of any potentially objectionable material before deciding whether to watch it.