Phoebe in Wonderland

  • Directors: Daniel Barnz
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Daniel Barnz
  • Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety

The movie tells a story of a 9 year old girl, Phoebe (Elle Fanning), with apparent Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.[2] While she deals with being odd and insecure, her mother (Felicity Huffman) and father (Bill Pullman) are dealing with complexities in their relationship with each other and their challenging child. Her little sister (Bailee Madison) feels neglected as Phoebe gains more attention.

Phoebe seeks a role in her school’s play, Alice In Wonderland, directed by her school’s off-beat drama teacher, Miss Dodger (Patricia Clarkson). Phoebe flourishes on stage, relaxing and feeling normal, but her impulsive speech and behavior persist off stage. Her parents hire a therapist for her, but after he proposes medication, Phoebe’s mother fires him. She does not want to accept that there is anything wrong with Phoebe; when the principal questions if Phoebe behaves oddly outside of the classroom, her mother denies it even though she has many times witnessed her daughter’s self-destructive rituals at home. When Phoebe is taken out of the play due to her classroom behavior, her dreams are shattered. Her mother, desperate to help her daughter feel normal, works with the drama teacher to bring Phoebe back on stage.

Although Phoebe is put back into the play, her challenges continue as she is driven to behavior she doesn’t understand. She hurts herself jumping off the catwalk onto the stage, and the drama teacher is fired. Phoebe’s fellow-actors descend into chaos, but Phoebe alone clings to a sense of purpose. She urges her classmates to continue their rehearsals on their own, and they do. Her mother, who has resisted efforts to label Phoebe, tells Phoebe that she has Tourette’s syndrome, and Phoebe helps her classmates understand her by explaining the condition to them.

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