I found Finding Neverland to be a very moving film -- brilliantly done.
I don't think it bothered me at all even though I knew it wasn't historically
accurate (the reviewers said as much when it first came out), but then
so many films about famous persons aren't that you kind of expect that
when you go.
Johny Depp's performance was superb, but it was Freddie Highmore
who really stole the show. Depp was so impressed by his performance
that he persuaded Tim Burton to cast Highmore as Charlie in
Charlie and the Chocolate factory.
I watched the 5 Children and It (2004) again (with Freddie Highmore
and Kenneth Brannagh) the other night after I made my earlier post.
(The Psammead, a Jim Hensen puppet, was better and
Brannagh worse than I remembered.) I admit it's not a great
movie but I enjoyed watching it a second time. Certainly, it's not
as good as the recent PBS Railway Children (circa 2000).
I sometimes check the IMDB ratings for fun though I don't necessarily
agree with them: Finding Neverland was rated 8.1/10 (with 40,000
votes). "5 children and it" was 5.6/10 and rather absurdly the
BBC miniseries was only rated 3.5. It's definitely a better adaptation
than the 2004 film, but then many North American viewers seem
to have no patience to match slow paced British (especially BBC) mini-series.
As for Zipes, I agree with him about Disney, but he's
being too much of a purist here. I don't think if you made an
historically accurate film about J.M. Barrie or Hans Christian
Andersen or the Grimm brothers it would be a box office success
-- or for that matter Tolkien or Lewis. (I think everyone
knows Shadowlands is partly fictional.) Most writers lead
"boring lives". It's what happens "on the inside" that counts.