"It's a beautifully done movie about the man who created Peter Pan," said New York Post film critic Lou Lumenick. Lumenick said Kate Winslet (search) also has Academy Award potential.
In the film, Depp plays the real-life Victorian British author J.M. Barrie, who befriended a widow (Winslet) and her four boys and wrote his classic, "Peter Pan," for them.
Some of the movie's best scenes involve Depp down on his hands and knees, playing pirates and Indians with the four child actors, aged 6 to 14.
Depp, 41, has said that his life only came into focus when he met his longtime partner, 31-year-old French pop star Vanessa Paradis, and he had children. The name of his 2-year-old son, Jack, is tattooed on his arm, and he wears a raggedy beaded bracelet that was made by his 5-year-old daughter, Lily Rose.
The actor took a long sabbatical from the screen when Lily was an infant, splitting his time between L.A., Paris and St. Tropez and "playing Barbies with my daughter."
Still, Depp admits, "I have to bring home the bacon," so he's been working hard since last year's triumphant return with an Oscar-nominated role in "Pirates of the Caribbean."
We'll see him next as a debauched 17th-century poet in "The Libertine," an art-house film directed by friend John Malkovich.
Depp is currently in London, playing Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's remake, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."
After that, he'll start work on a "Pirates" sequel, reprising his role as the elegantly wasted pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, a part famously inspired by Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards. If all goes as planned, Keef himself will appear in the movie as Sparrow's father.