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March 06, 2005

Finding Neverland

I don't know what it is about movies these days. Are all critics interested in doing is finding tearjerking melodramas? Gawd, are there any serious films left for adults? I'll tell you, the last one I saw was 'Sexy Beast'.

I seem to be losing my ability to jump meta in dramatic films. The reason for this is that I respect my $8.50 too much. If it's on the Tivo, that's another story, I'm a regular Crowbot. But on the big screen, I shut down my inner critic and let the waves overflow. So I had no idea that the main actor in this deally was Johnny Depp. Hell I didn't even recognize The Rock in 'Be Cool'. Whatever. I'm too busy being entertained, or sobbing my eyes out, one.

This weeper is supposed to be about - oh hell you know what it's about. It's about the story behind the story of 'Peter Pan', a slow motion dissolution of a marriage and the whimsical adoption of a greatly imaginative writer and a family of four boys, their beautiful but ailing and widowed mother and their meddling hairshirt of a grandmother. It's a very charming affair, but I couldn't help thinking that it's a mix between Howard's End and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. And man I've got to say, there's nothing quite like those thick tweedy period suits. I gotta get one before I die.

'Finding Neverland' is a completely arresting story. Depp's character is instantly likeable, as he negotiates the line between stiflingly unselfconscious London propriety and the delights of the imagination. He's admirably restrained in this role and that's probably why I didn't recognize him. I can only thank the Fates of Hollywood that Jude Law wasn't cast.

So what have we got? Brilliant acting, a touching and heart-rending story full of rosy cheeks, toity intrigue, allegorical richness of a depth rarely approached in Hollywood, and a tie in to the latest Trial of the Century, en passant. What we've got is bucketloads of honest, puritan tears, the likes of which you probably ain't shed since the last time you thought Tinkerbell was going to kick the bucket.

I had been told that as a writer, I would relate to it - that it would touch me because I go off someplace most people don't understand when I'm on a writing jag. I don't know about all that. In the end it just left me feeling a little silly. OK now say it all together: 'Peter Pan' is actually profound.


Posted by mbowen at March 6, 2005 07:18 PM

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It was so cool to see Julie Christie in the role she was in. My image of an actor is frozen in the era where they did most of their work, so to see her in a role which was closer to her current chronological age was great.

Diane Keaton is really looking good as she matures too. Do straight guys like you get aroused (on whatever chakra you value) by women closer to your own age, or is it always the chickies who get your fires going?

The US film industry doesn't have a Brigitte Bardot. I don't think it ever did. Maybe it's not possible. Do you think American men can ever appreciate fine looking older women?

Posted by: Scott Ferguson at March 6, 2005 10:28 PM

Well, outside of Lena Horne in my neighborhood, I don't think anyone came close.

When I looked up Julie Christie I was indeed floored, because I couldn't see her outside of the current role. Two different people. That was fabulous.

Posted by: Cobb at March 7, 2005 07:02 AM