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Phoebe in Wonderland

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Daniel Barnz

Initial DVD release
June 23, 2009


United States



Music director
Christophe Beck

Daniel Barnz


Phoebe in Wonderland movie poster
Release date
January 20, 2008 (2008-01-20) (Sundance Film Festival) March 6, 2009 (2009-03-06) (United States)

Felicity Huffman
(Hillary Lichten),
Elle Fanning
(Phoebe Lichten),
Patricia Clarkson
(Miss Dodger),
Bill Pullman
(Peter Lichten)

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Young Phoebe (Elle Fanning) has Tourettes syndrome, and shes not very good at following rules. Her mother (Felicity Huffman) and father (Bill Pullman) struggle to help and understand her, even while Phoebes little sister feels neglected by her parents. Things take a turn when Phoebe lands a role in her schools theatrical version of "Alice in Wonderland." Unconventional drama teacher Miss Dodger (Patricia Clarkson) helps the girl feel more normal, but Phoebe still struggles offstage.


Phoebe in Wonderland is a 2008 independent film directed by Daniel Barnz.

Phoebe in Wonderland movie scenes

It was screened in the Dramatic Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and received a limited theatrical release on March 6, 2009.

Phoebe in Wonderland movie scenes

The fantastical tale of a little girl who won't - or can't - follow the rules. Confounded by her clashes with the rule-obsessed world around her, Phoebe seeks enlightenment from her unconventional drama teacher, even as her brilliant but anguished mother looks to Phoebe herself for inspiration.


Phoebe in Wonderland movie scenes Fans Stars Wonderland Movie Movie Scene Fans Phoebe Movie 2008 Tional Fans Wonderland Pictures Phoebe Wonderland Elle Fanning

A 9-year-old girl, Phoebe (Elle Fanning), has apparent Tourette syndrome. 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 younger sister (Bailee Madison) feels neglected as Phoebe gains more attention.

Phoebe seeks a role in her schools play, Alice In Wonderland, directed by her schools 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, Phoebes 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 daughters 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.

Phoebe in Wonderland movie scenes The entire film is shot beautifully Phoebe s costuming is wonderful and the costumes from the children s play are fantastic Even more breathtaking are

Although Phoebe is put back into the play, her challenges continue as she is driven to behavior she doesnt understand. She hurts herself jumping off the catwalk onto the stage, and the drama teacher is fired. Phoebes 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 syndrome, and Phoebe helps her classmates understand her by explaining the condition to them.


  • Elle Fanning as Phoebe Lichten
  • Felicity Huffman as Hillary Lichten/Red Queen (uncredited)
  • Patricia Clarkson as Miss Dodger
  • Bill Pullman as Peter Lichten/Queen of Hearts (uncredited)
  • Bailee Madison as Olivia Lichten
  • Campbell Scott as Principal Davis/Mad Hatter (uncredited)
  • Ian Coletti as Jamie Madison
  • Peter Gerety as Dr Miles/Humpty Dumpty (uncredited)
  • Madhur Jaffrey as Miss Reiter/Knave of Hearts (uncredited)
  • Caitlin Sanchez as Monica
  • Maddie Corman as Teacher/White Rabbit (uncredited)
  • Max Baker as Teacher/King of Hearts (uncredited)
  • Production

  • The film was submitted for the Sundance Film Festival of 2008.
  • This movie is Elle Fannings first lead role in a feature film.
  • The first draft of the script was written a year before Fanning was born.
  • Shown at the RiverRun International Film Festival in 2008
  • Awards and nominations

    On January 14, 2010, the film was nominated for Outstanding Film – Wide Release – at the 21st GLAAD Media Awards.


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