Curious, sensitive nine year-old Phoebe (Elle Fanning) appears to have the ideal family: her academic parents (Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman) encourage her creativity, introducing her to art and literature at a young age. But at school, everyone seems obsessed with rules-rules that Phoebe often feels compelled to break, leading to run-ins with the uptight principal (Campbell Scott). When a new drama teacher, Miss Dodger (Patricia Clarkson), holds auditions for a dramatic version of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, she is dismayed at the students' lack of imagination and playfulness, until she meets Phoebe. As Phoebe's behavior becomes more erratic and bewildering, she looks to Miss Dodger and Wonderland for guidance, finding it increasingly difficult to cope with her life outside the theater walls.
Anchored by strong performances, PHOEBE IN WONDERLAND delves deftly into questions about conformity, rebellion, and adult-child interactions. What is "abnormal" behavior, and when does it cross a line into disorder? Are we too quick to diagnose children, or do these identifications help them? As Phoebe's mother, Huffman conveys the frustrations of a brilliant scholar struggling to balance full-time mothering with her own work on Alice. The elegant Clarkson portrays Miss Dodger without a hint of sentimentalism. But both of these adult characters are inspired by Phoebe, and Fanning more than meets the challenge as an actress; her impressive work shows nuance and sophistication well beyond her years as she draws the viewer completely into the world of a troubled child.
I saw this movie this weekend at a film festival and thought it was very good and quite engaging. Elle Fanning is 80% of the movie and does an excellent job, and the supporting cast is excellent (including Phoebe's sister and the kids in her class play). There are a couple of "Lifetime" moments but nothing too bad, no OT scenes though, that's Elle's sister's department
Expected to be released theatrically "this fall", with DVD release to follow and TV on Lifetime in 2009. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/con ... 009780ce68
A nice review: http://www.cinematical.com/2008/01/23/s ... onderland/