Phoebe In Wonderland is a 2008 American drama film that was first screened at the 2008 Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival. It is directed and written by Daniel Barnz, with Elle Fanning in the leading role of Phoebe, Felicity Huffman who plays Phoebe's mother-Hillary Lichten, Patricia Clarkson as Miss Dodger, and Bill Pullman as Phoebe's father- Peter Lichten.
Phoebe in Wonderland is a fantastical tale of a little 9-year-old girl (Elle Fanning) and her journey of self-discovery. She has Tourette syndrome which contributes to her being odd and insecure, having a motor and vocal tics, a behavior that she cannot understand. Her loving and protective mother Hillary tries not to label her daughter and gives her enormous support whilst struggling in her relationship with her husband. As Phoebe gets more attention from her parents due to her condition, her sister Olivia (played by Bailee Madison) feels neglected.
Another great performance in this movie is Patricia Clarkson brilliant as the drama teacher who casts Phoebe in the school play 'Alice in Wonderland' and helps to discover a beautiful truth in the center of the play, as well as the movie, which is the talented, curious and delightful Phoebe.
Although Phoebe struggles due to her condition, she somehow manages to flourish on stage, feel normal and relaxed, but when she is off-stage she simply can't hide her impulsive behavior and speech issues. Her parents try to help her by hiring a therapist who is fired by Hillary after suggesting medication, as she doesn't want to accept that there is something wrong with her child.
Due to Phoebe's odd behavior in the classroom, she is taken off the play and her dreams are shattered. After all, that was the only place where she felt normal and safe. Hillary decides to help her daughter by seeking Miss Dodger's help to bring back Phoebe on stage. After returning to the play, Phoebe hurts herself by jumping off the stage and that results in Miss Dodger being fired.
Phoebe can't accept that her dream is crushed yet again. She pulls all of her classmates and urges them to continue the rehearsals on their own. After all, that's happened, her mother finally decides to tell her the truth about her condition, which eventually helps Phoebe to understand her strange behavior and gives her the chance to reveal everything about her struggles to her classmates which ultimately brings them closer.
Phoebe in Wonderland is a beautiful tale about the love, struggle, support, discovery, and challenges of an extraordinary young girl, who overcomes her difficulties and finally reveals her creative potential.