Phoebe in Wonderland

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 53


Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,817
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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. Her mother (Huffman) is an aspiring academic who is beginning to feel like she has not only failed in her professional career, but as a parent as well. Though Phoebe's gifted drama teacher (Clarkson) has no doubts about the young girl's talent and capacity for learning, the frustration of seeing such a promising student slowly slip ever further away from reality soon becomes a growing concern both at home and at school. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Phoebe in Wonderland

All Critics (53) | Top Critics (21)

Audience Reviews for Phoebe in Wonderland

  • Nov 14, 2013
    The film's strength lies in its candid portrayal of a young girl afflicted and in Elle Fanning's Phoebe. Full review later.
    Thomas B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2012
    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 H Super Reviewer
  • Jan 08, 2011
    This is NOT a childrens' movies. Don't go to Red-Box see the cover and think "O how sweet! A new Alice in Wonderland with Dakota Fannings' little sister!" That is a falsehood! Bad adevertising. Let me tell you what this movie is actually about. Phoepe (fanning) Has always had trouble following the rules and was always told by her mother that being different is a good thing. As she enters 3rd grade (i think) she finds following the rules harder than usual. Spitting on her classmates and yelling out whatever she thinks. He Mother (Huffman) is attempting to write a book on Lewis Carol and his infamous book, but finds starting the book hard while dealing with two extremely immaginatve young girls and an unsupporting husband. Phoebe finds refuge in her class play Alice in Wonderland where she is cast in the title role. She befriends her director, wonderfully played by Patricia Clarkson. But as her parents push her farther into therapy and trying to understand their daughters unruliness, Phoebe goes further down the rabbit whole and further away from reality. This is definitely a PARENTS movie. I really enjoyed it. The performances are raw and believable. A bit long but it had good closure to the ending.
    Morgan S Super Reviewer
  • Dec 06, 2010
    This wasn't the movie I wanted it to be. It's about a troubled girl who finds her school's production of Alice In Wonderland, which ends up becoming a strain on her sister and her parents. I don't know what the point of it was, it was just a tough movie with not much cute.
    Alexis N Super Reviewer

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