The key to your imagination is not what you think |

The key to your imagination is not what you think

Laura A. Ball
AP photo Johnny Depp, left, and Freddie Highmore play pirates in Marc Forster's "Finding Neverland," named the best film of year by The National Board of Review on Dec. 1, The film is playing at Crossroads Cinema in Vail Village.

This fairy tale pastiche, chock full of dreamy imagery, seeks to do nothing more than find a happy ending.Set in London in the early 1900s, playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie (Johnny Depp) has yet to write a play that startles his audiences imaginations. Until that is, of course, his famed “Peter Pan.”The fantasy follows Barrie in his quest to escape boredom. Unhappy with his beautiful wife, actress Mary Ansell Barrie (Rhada Mitchell), and heartless home, Barrie desperately wonders to the park in search of hope, inspiration.

It is there he meets the strong and graceful Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet) and her four boys.After he mesmerizes them by dancing with his dog, who magically turns into a bear, Barrie and the boys become inseparable. With the Davies, he finds a world unexplored.He encourages the children to embrace their youth after the death of their own father robbed them of it, and takes care of Sylvia throughout a mysterious illness. But the Davies are not the only characters finding solace.In Barrie’s attempts to flee from his own fears, losses and loneliness, he connects with the Davies and in turn finds love, fulfillment.

His own childhood was stolen when, as a young boy, he had to cope with the death of his brother and the grief his mother suffered. He tells Sylvia that he created Neverland, so that he had a happy place to go to. He tells her that he will take her there one day; he has already brought the boys.The Davies inspired him to write the famous tale of Peter, the boy who never grew up, but it was out of necessity to rid his own grievous-laden soul that he did. When Sylvia’s 12-year-old son, George (Nick Roud), comes to Barrie for help of his ill mother, the playwright tells him that he has to believe. And as the audience rides along on this brilliant, emotional tale, rather than catapulting the viewer into a land of vast imagination, the film’s darker layer forces us to believe, too, that hope after tragedy can be carefully found.As Barrie completes his greatest play, he seals himself in Neverland forever, a place perhaps not pertaining to age or time, but to healing.

“Finding Neverland” is playing at Crossroads Cinema in Vail Village. For more information, call 476-5661 or go to Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 619, or Colorado

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