I saw this film about 2 years ago during a film class with Leonard Maltin and I absolutely loved it. The story was so intriguing, it left you guessing and wondering just like Alice in Wonderland. The films director, Daniel Barnz came to speak to us after we had watched the movie. He explained the hard journey the movie had taken to be shown finally on screen. The film though would not appear in the movie cinemas still for another year. This always puzzled me. The films cast is an aray of actors but who all bring very unique individual gifts to the story. Elle Fanning (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) plays Phoebe, in such a way I think leaves her older sister Dakota in the verberbial dust so to speak. Shes young, but wise, her life is seemingly in and out of her grasp, and her facial expressions engage the audience as much as her words and actions.
Felicity Huffman, an actor I was not familar with before, but who Barnz hails as the the reason for the story being brought to life, is also engaging. She plays a work aholic-author, who after a successful publish is now back to writing but suffering from writers block. Her husband, Bill Pullman (Sleepless in Seattle, While You Were Sleeping) plays the all caring and understanding father and husband, also a work-a-holic author – but somewhat less talented.
Besides Fanning, the two others who really bring the screen to life are Patricia Clarkson, the drama teacher who helps Fannings character, albeit in a somewhat unorthodox way, through casting her as Alice in the school production of Alice in Wonderland. This both proves as both a rememdy and protagonist as one will see in the middle of the movie. Now to Fannings co-star – Baliee Madison, who plays her little sister, Olivia, wiser for her age, provides comic relief as shes riddled with a dead-pan dark sense of humour. In one scene, both she and Fanning are trick or treating, Fanning dressed as Alice in Wonderland and she, in a suite and moustache annoyed by being asked who she was by someone, annoyingly snaps, “Karl Marx”, proceeds to ask her mother why nobody knows who she is. I dont want to spoil the movie for you or give you any more details so that you can go into it with a clean slate, allowing for more chances of surprise. You can rent or buy the movie on Netflix, Amazon, or your local video shop. Click on the fim poster for the trailer.