Cynically speaking, Finding Neverland is a manipulative film that rearranges history to jerk as many tears out of the series of events that led fading playwright James M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) to write “Peter Pan.” The woman (Kate Winslet) and children (Freddie Highmore, Joe Prospero, Nick Roud and Luke Spill) who helped inspire Barrie’s creation were real, but creative liberties are taken beyond that. Those familiar with the history may not forgive such dishonesty, but Neverland justifies the means with some very clever bits of visual storytelling and a rare degree of chemistry between the boys, Depp and Winslet. If you let your guard down, the manipulation works.

Extras: Filmmaker commentary, three behind-the-scenes features, outtakes, deleted scenes.

DVD Grade: A-

© 2005, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services

Finding Neverland is currently available.