Dreamchild (1985)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Irreverent British writer Dennis Potter speaks aloud what many literary historians have only postulated in whispers in Dreamchild. The film is set in 1932, on the 100th anniversary of the birth of Alice in Wonderland creator Lewis Carroll. The guest of honor at the New York-based celebration is 80-year-old Alice Liddell (Coral Browne), who as a child inspired Carroll's whimsical novels. Amidst the cajoling of both devoted fans and fast-buck hustlers, the grim-faced Alice tries to remain calm and dignified. What none of the idolaters suspect is that Alice harbors a long-suppressed secret concerning her "very special" relationship with Carroll -- a secret revealed in an extremely tasteful fashion during a flashback sequence, featuring Amelia Shankley as young Alice and Ian Holm as Charles Dodgson, the virginal, child-obsessed clergyman whom the world knew as Lewis Carroll. The darkness of Dennis Potter's vision is lightened by Muppeteer Jim Henson's marvelous three-dimensional renditions of the Wonderland and Looking Glass characters.
PG (adult situations/language)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
HBO Video


Ian Holm
as Rev. Charles Dodgson
Amelia Shankley
as Little Alice
Coral Browne
as Alice Hargreaves
Peter Gallagher
as Jack Dolan
Caris Corfman
as Sally Mackeson
Jane Asher
as Mrs. Liddell
Emma King
as Edith
Rupert Wainwright
as Hargreaves
Roger Ashton-Griffiths
as Rev. Duckworth
James Wilby
as Baker
Shane Rimmer
as Mr. Marl
Peter Whitman
as Radio Producer
William Hootkins
as Radio Actor
Jeffrey Chiswick
as Radio Actor
Pat Starr
as Radio Actress
Alan Bennett
as Mock Turtle
Johnny M.
as 1st Crooner
Danny Brainin
as Reporter/Photographer
Alan Sherman
as Reporter
Anthony Haygarth
as Mad Hatter
Sam Douglas
as Reporter
Peter Banks
as Editor
Derek Hoxby
as Editor
Ken Hudson Campbell
as Radio Sound Effects Man/March Hare, March Hare
Ron Berglas
as Editor
Ron Travis
as Editor
Thomasine Heiner
as Announcer/Chairman
Pierre Olivier Bardet
as President of University
Tony Mansell
as Waldorf Astoria Crooner
Ron Mueck
as Gryphon
Steve Whitmire
as Mock Turtle/Caterpillar
Karen Prell
as Dormouse
Michael Sundin
as March Hare
Big Mick
as Mad Hatter
Fulton Mackay
as Gryphon
Alan Bennet
as Mock Turtle
Julie Walters
as Dormouse
Tony Haygarth
as Mad Hatter
Frank Middlemass
as Caterpillar
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Critic Reviews for Dreamchild

All Critics (10) | Top Critics (1)

A marvelously inventive mix of fantasy and fanciful speculation.

October 4, 2002
San Francisco Examiner

The Jim Henson fabrications of the Wonderland characters are more horrific than whimsical and the direction feels like a TV film, but the attempt is noteworthy.

Full Review… | August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Wistful and warm ... and just a little bit dull.

July 31, 2002

Quote not available.

June 11, 2005

Quote not available.

July 2, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

Quote not available.

August 22, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for Dreamchild

Fanciful subtlety is inventively explored in this remarkably ambitious film from small-screen director Gavin Millar, in his only foray into big-screen cinema.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

Living up to it's title a dreamy film of the aged Alice's half memories of her childhood and Lewis Carroll interwoven with sequences of animated characters from the story and her present day, the 30's, trip to receive an honorary degree. Nice sense of time and place and a truly lovely performance by Coral Browne as the grownup Alice.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Dreamchild (1985) -- [6.0] -- A provocative film about the real 'Alice in Wonderland,' who at 80 years of age begins recollecting her memories of Lewis Carroll. Through flashbacks with Carroll (played by Ian Holm) and in twisted fantasy sequences featuring creations from the Jim Henson Creature Shop, Alice slowly comes to terms with something she never realized before -- that Carroll loved her. And I don't mean the way a father loves a daughter. The film explores the romantic obsession Carroll harbored for the little girl, which is apparently documented in some of the author's letters to family members. The subject is treated with subtlety and taste, but the movie has a hard time shaking its persistently sleepy atmosphere and languid pacing.

Scott Schirmer
Scott Schirmer

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