‘finding Neverland’: JM Barrie
Premise: The story of Peter Pan author JM Barrie (played by Johnny Depp), who found inspiration for his play in his relationship with a widow, Sylvia Davies (Kate Winslet), and her young sons.
Strength: Four-hankie appeal. A tear-jerker of the bunch. The performances are subtle and it’s got a lot of heart. That always works with Oscar voters.
Weakness: A good title. Distributor Miramax initially was going to name the film ‘Neverland’, but feared audiences would associate it with Michael Jackson’s ‘Neverland Ranch’. And questions have arisen about Barrie’s relationship with the Davies children. ‘Neverland’ also gets a few facts wrong: Davies had five sons, not four. And Barrie was friends with Davies’ husband, Arthur, when he died. In the film, Barrie’s relationship with Sylvia begins after Arthur dies.