Phoebe in Wonderland (2009)



Critic Consensus: Blessed with a good cast, Phoebe's heart is in the right place, but its execution is dicey.

Phoebe in Wonderland Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Felicity Huffman, Elle Fanning, and Patricia Clarkson star in director/screenwriter Daniel Barnz's illuminating tale of parenting and growth concerning an exceptional young girl whose troubling retreat into fantasy draws the concern of both her dejected mother and her unusually perceptive drama teacher. Phoebe (Fanning) is a talented young student who longs to take part in the school production of Alice in Wonderland, but whose bizarre behavior sets her well apart from her carefree classmates. … More

Rating: PG-13 (for thematic material and brief strong language)
Genre: Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Daniel Barnz
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 23, 2009
ThinkFilm - Official Site


as Hillary Lichten

as Miss Dodger

as Phoebe Lichten

as Peter Lichten

as Principal Davis

as Miss Reiter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Phoebe in Wonderland

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Phoebe in Wonderland

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (20)

It needs the power of imagination to be done effectively and I just didn't think it was here.

Full Review… | March 9, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

I thought this was delightful, a little depressing at times but with three stellar performances from Fanning, Huffman, and Patricia Clarkson.

Full Review… | March 9, 2009
At the Movies
Top Critic

There's a lot more perspiration than inspiration.

Full Review… | March 9, 2009
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

[Elle Fanning is] an astonishingly natural and unmannered actress who carries this rather ungainly movie on her narrow shoulders.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Top Critic

Barnz has made a poignant family movie that, despite its thematic material and brief profanity, is appropriate for mature 10-year-olds and older.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic

Let Clarkson and Fanning take you to the rabbit hole of seductive enchantment that defines this movie.

Full Review… | March 6, 2009
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Phoebe in Wonderland

The film's strength lies in its candid portrayal of a young girl afflicted and in Elle Fanning's Phoebe. Full review later.

Thomas Bowler

Super Reviewer

"Elle Fanning is every bit as talented as her older sister Dakota. She gives a great performance in Phoebe in Wonderland.
Phoebe is a young girl suffering from OCD and Tourrettes syndrome. But it takes awhile for her to be diagnosed. I thought the parents to be in complete denial and putting blame on everyone but themselves, even though there is no one to be blamed.
The performances is what really brings this film together. I loved Patricia Clarkson in the film as well as Elle Fanning. They both stood out for me and made the film."


Super Reviewer


A troubled ten-year-old gets cast as Alice in the school play version of Alice in Wonderland and copes with the pressures of growing up different than her peers.
Stellar performances by everyone in the cast carry this film. Elle Fanning has all the natural charm her sister has and is equally wise beyond her years. Felicity Huffman and Patricia Clarkson are also quite good, and Bill Pullman has moments of emotional expression that are rare for him.
I liked that that film took its characters seriously and that this didn't attempt to be a contemporary re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. Rather, the film is about a child coping with what could be either eccentricity or mental illness, and for the characters in the film, the line between those two conditions is as fluid as it should be in real life. Aside from the principal, there isn't a villain (even the principal is more of a weak douche than a true villain), just people of different perspectives trying to resolve the Phoebe's problems.
I didn't like the ending, and I thought that Phoebe's antics occasionally got petulant, making her character less identifiable.
Overall, Phoebe in Wonderland is a strong, sensitive drama about growing up different with just the right touch of Lewis Carroll whimsy.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Phoebe in Wonderland Quotes

– Submitted by Michaela C (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Phoebe in Wonderland on our Movie forum!