Films from Past Years/ Phoebe in Wonderland
Narrative Feature | USA | 2008 | 96 mins. | PG-13
Director Daniel Barnz
Screenwriter Daniel Barnz
2008 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize (Dramatic) Nominee
Phoebe in Wonderland is the fantastical tale of Phoebe (Elle Fanning), a young girl who longs to be in the school production of Alice in Wonderland. After her peculiar drama teacher Miss Dodger (Patricia Clarkson) casts her, Phoebe struggles to control her behavior so her Principal (Campbell Scott) won’t kick her out. As Phoebe’s stress mounts, her behavior grows worse, creating intense pressure on her parents Hillary and Peter (Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman). Hillary, who already feels a failure in both her personal and professional life, desperately tries to understand and help her daughter. But this connection proves elusive as Phoebe begins retreating to an imaginary fantasy world peopled by characters from Alice in Wonderland, a world which grows increasingly disturbing and treacherous. As Alice observes to the Caterpillar, “It is very confusing being so many different sizes in a day,” and in the end both Hillary and Phoebe (under Miss Dodger’s tutelage) must try to navigate the strange, painful, exhilarating transformation from chrysalis to butterfly.