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Awakening Our Childlike Innocence: “Finding Neverland”

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Peter Pan is a popular fictional character created by Scottish novelist and playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie. Free-spirited and a little mischievous, Peter Pan can fly around and never needs, nor wants, to grow up. He spends his endless childhood in all kinds of adventures on a mythical island called “Neverland,” with fairies, pirates, mermaids, and some very special children.

Today, however, it is not Peter Pan we celebrate, but rather his creator, in a film about the life of Sir James Matthew Barrie entitled “Finding Neverland.” The film begins in 1903, when well-known playwright and novelist James Matthew Barrie is not experiencing the best period in life.

James recalls his own experience when he lost his brother at a young age and shares with Sylvia how he was no longer a child after that, and the boy in him had gone to Neverland. Sylvia understands and asks James to show her Neverland someday.

As James’ imagination takes the boys on many adventures, involving pirates, cowboys, and Native Americans, he also tries to get Peter to play with them. He gives Peter a journal so that he can write his own stories. In the meantime, James is inspired to begin his new play and asks for Peter’s permission to name the main character after him. This character later becomes the famous Peter Pan.

“You can visit Neverland anytime you like.” “How?” “By believing, Peter. Just believe.” Poetic and enchanting, “Finding Neverland” has shown us the beauty of childlike innocence and how creativity, imagination, and belief can help us find joy and happiness in life. The spellbinding story reaches out to the child within all of us, awakening the wondrous Neverland in our hearts that lives on even beyond our ephemeral time on Earth. That is Neverland.

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