New 'Peter Pan' Is Nuanced, Lovely, and Moving

RECEIVED Wed., Jan. 7, 2004

Dear Editor,
   "Nuanced" is the only way to describe Peter Pan ["New Reviews," Film, Dec. 26]. This new version takes Mr. Barrie's work, and, while not faithful, works it in such a way that I'm sure the author wouldn't find anything amiss. Rachel Hurd-Wood plays our Wendy with a perfect split of maturity and childishness. The shift between playful child and burgeoning woman are portrayed with such an adept talent – mother and maiden, child and woman; each aspect is perfectly portrayed with style by a gleam in the eye or a purse of plump ruby lips. Jeremy Sumpter mischievously tiptoes that delicate line between man and boy with an impish grace. The boy with the soft body and childish lisp is at the same time a man just beneath the surface. I never thought to see Peter Pan this way – perhaps it was inadvertent; the chemistry the two portray onscreen is almost shocking in its purity. One feels as if you are looking upon a sacred thing, viewing Adam and Eve in the garden, without the haunting tree. The supporting cast of Olivia Williams, completely believable as the woman with the secret kiss, Mrs. Darling, and Jason Issacs, a Mr. Darling that you want to help along, and a Captain Hook who is a haunted, almost artistic man longing for a mother, for anyone to drive away his nightmares. The film was gorgeous – a living Maxfield Parrish painting. I only fear our society won't know what to make of a pure love between two not-quite-children; it has nothing familiar about it – no lust, no comprehension of things to come – a purity where a kiss is a secret shared only with one, the love that angels share and man may only think of, then recoil for fear of tarnishing.
Kathleen Kinard
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