Last night was opening night at the Mill Valley Film Festival. We’ve cut back this year, with tickets for only 15 films over 11 days. Our choice for the opener was Finding Neverland, directed by Marc Forster, the same guy who did Monster’s Ball. The two films couldn’t be more different, both terrific.
Johnny Depp is superb as British playwright J.M. Barrie, the author of the original Peter Pan, and anyone who knows that story will love this film. It’s a mix of drama, comedy and fantasy with the latter sprinkled lightly into the movie in ways that you gasp. The fantasy disappears as quickly as it appears and the film barely skips a beat.
During his talk after the screening, Forster said that Mirimax gave him the film and even control over the cut because of his success with Monster’s Ball, and except for a slightly awkward ending, the cut is very good.
This film should receive high critical acclaim, and hopefully audiences will take to it as well. Two thumbs up.