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(2004), PG [G*]
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
October 30, 2004
88 out of 100

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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2004), PG [G*] -- It was a joy to analyze this film for you.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Film Colony
Distribution (US): Miramax Films
Director(s): Marc Forster
Producer(s): Tracey Becker, Nellie Bellflower, Gary Binkow, Michael Dreyer, Richard N. Gladstein, Neal Israel
Written by: Allan Knee (play), David Magee
Cinematography/Camera: Roberto Schaefer
Music: Elton John, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
Film Editing: Matt Chesse
Casting: Kate Dowd
Production Design: Gemma Jackson
Art Direction: Peter Russel
Viewed at: Hollywood Theaters South Freeway, Burleson, Texas

Nervous Scottish playwright and author James Matthew Barrie (Johnny Depp) fretted deeply because his current play was a flop. Operator of the famous London Theater, Charles Frohman (Dustin Hoffman) was not happy with his investment but was patient. Wife Mary (Radha Mitchell) tried her best to boost audience opinion but to no avail.

I will interject here a couple observations about Depp. Depp is not Scottish but to listen to him in this film one could not tell. I suppose a born-n-bred Scotsman could tell Depp isn't Scottish, but to the average viewer Depp was very good at the inflections we in the colonies associate with the Scottish accent. Indeed, the mystique of Depp peeked through if only by my own imagination. His styles in Secret Window and Pirates of the Caribbean seemed to ghost into the film in a few places. Once in particular I could swear I saw the same expression on Depp we saw in Pirates of the Caribbean when Keira Knightley slapped Depp who then said "I don't know if I deserved that." But yet, his delivery was at times fresh and new. Quite versatile Depp is.

While Barrie tried to soothe his furrowed brow in a park, a young lad complained to Barrie that Barrie was stepping on his sleeve. The young boy, Jack Llewelyn Davies (Joe Prospero) was playing captive in a deep and dark play dungeon under the park bench. Oldest brother George Llewelyn Davies (Nick Roud) and older brother Peter Llewelyn Davies (Freddie Highmore) were Jack's pirate captors. As serendipity would have it, from the indigence of the Davies boys a seed was planted for Barrie's next play.

Through involvement with the Davies boys, Barrie met their mother the widowed Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Kate Winslet). Yes, that is the Kate Winslet who, there is no polite way to put this, stripped for Leonardo DiCaprio's drawing palette in Titanic (1997), the quintessential pair who formed the force for breaking down inhibition against nudity and intercourse in PG-13.

Through a slow but deliberate process, the still married Barrie developed a close relationship with widow Sylvia by his increasing [wholesome] bonding with her sons. And Sylvia reciprocated from the first inkling of Barrie's interest in her to the last moment they shared of their adulterous relationship. Whether this is true of J. M. Barrie's life I have no idea. I am not analyzing the life of Barrie, just the content of this film.

Over a number of days or weeks or months, how long was not explained, Barrie engaged the young lads in much play and frivolity complete with costumery and props to stage their play. It was not long after the initial encounter with the spriteful Davies boys that Barrie started spending more time aiding the struggling Davies family than at home, using the excuse of feeding the creative juices as justification for doing so.

Entered quickly and methodically the Davies maternal grandmother Mrs. du Maurier (Julie Christie) to protect the good name of the Davies family. Barrie spending more time with the Davies than his wife started scandalous twitter among the high society crowd. Barrie's reputation as well as Sylvia's reputation were at stake. Grandmother took it upon herself to abate and evaporate the scandal as best she could.

Barrie soon became surrogate father and "Uncle Jim" to the boys. But as if to excuse his socially and morally perilous involvement with Sylvia, through the mixing of his own imagination with the imaginations of the boys, Barrie developed his next play, which gives meaning to the title Finding Neverland. "Neverland" being an identifier of Peter Pan. Barrie found the Peter Pan "Neverland" in young Peter Llewelyn Davies. No, I do not know if this is true, but it is a nice thought.

This may seem like enough to spoil the movie for you, but there is much more to the 96-minute Finding Neverland. But I will end the summary here to avoid spoiling the movie any further. It is a delightful romp into creative imagination with worldly morality hardening the edges and underside like an over-fried egg, giving reason for the PG rating.

The Wanton Violence/Crime (W) investigation area found only a couple behaviors challenging our Lord's Word: threat of divorce [Mal. 2:16, Matt. 19:8] and the boys fighting causing a serious injury to George. [Prov. 22:15]

The Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area found some adolescent badgering of authority figures [1 Pet. 5:5] and some marital discord [1 Pet. 3:1, 1 Pet. 3:7 - 8], but not found was a single use of the three/four letter word vocabulary or any other foul expletives.

The Sexual Immorality (S) investigation area was nearly free of any immoral behavior except in one case where the filmmakers used the camera angle to force the viewer onto private parts. Whether intentional or not, producers know every frame produced. It may simply have been too expensive to edit those few frames out.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) found smoking and drinking of wine/champagne. Whether acceptable to you in your child's entertainment diet or not, viewing consumption of alcoholic beverages and smoking in and as entertainment has been proven to embolden young viewers to experiment with them. And, though it is not a sin to drink it is to get drunk, if a child abuses him/herself with these vices because of seeing them in and as entertainment, the millstone of Luke 17:2 is invoked.

The Offense to God (O) investigation area revealed no uses of His name in vain in any form but did find multiple examples of adulterous behaviors. [Prov. 30:20, Prov. 7:21, Hebr. 13:4]

Murder/Suicide (M) found nothing.

Finding Neverland earned a CAP Final score of 88 out of 100 which lifts it to two points above the top of the scoring range earned by PG movies (68 to 86 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database and into the scoring range earned by G-rated movies (100 to 86 out of 100). This makes it a "hardcore G" but equivalent to some G-rated movies nonetheless. And since this film earned scores less than 86 in two of the six CAP investigation areas (Drugs/Alcohol and Offense to God), it warrants display of the yellow CAPCon alert light. Click on the CAPCon alert light for a more detailed explanation.

As always, the listing in the Finding/Scoring section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, though rather short in the case of Finding Neverland will give you the best accounting of the application of the CAP Analysis Model to this film.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Mal. 2:16 "I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
  • Matt. 19:8 Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.
  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
  • 1Pet. 5:5 Young men, in the same way [in humility as the elders who have charge over you] be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
  • 1 Pet. 3:1 Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; ...
  • 1 Pet. 3:7 - 8 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
  • Prov. 30:20 "This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and wipes her mouth and says, `I've done nothing wrong.'
  • Prov. 7:21 With her [the adulteress] much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. [One can invert the gender in this verse and it will still apply.]
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure [which includes before marriage], for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Finding Neverland (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • threat of divorce
  • boys fighting over next turn causing serious injury to one of them

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • marital discord
  • child acting out his anger due to his father's death
  • adolescent verbally badgering grandmother

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • dinner wine/champagne
  • smoking, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)
  • dream flying
  • adulterous behaviors, repeatedly
  • unnatural world magically appearing

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted



    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our more than eight years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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