Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Phoebe In Wonderland

Thus far with this blog, I've been writing about movies I've seen in the last few months. So recent enough that I haven't had to re-watch anything. Today, I ran out of fresh material. So...rather than venture out into the nasty rain or re-live a bad movie, I decided to watch a newer favourite. Enjoy!

Phoebe In Wonderland
Director- Daniel Barnz
Writer- Daniel Barnz
Top Billed Cast- Elle Fanning, Patricia Clarkson, & Felicity Huffman

This movie is about the very imaginative Phoebe Lichten and her struggle to decipher fact from fiction.


* Within the first 10 minutes of the film, you're already aware of one of the major themes (and no, I'm not talking about Alice in Wonderland): Felicity Huffman's resentment of her current living situation; trying to wear too many hats without complaints.

* I love the vibrancy of this movie, everything is vivid and eye catching but not in a gaudy or overwhelming way.

* Elle Fanning is such a brilliant little actress, I never once doubted her role. While, yes, I'll admit that for the majority of the film I was stuck on the "That's Dakota's little sister!" thing so that was a bit distracting, but overall I felt she did fantastic.

* Cinematography is really great in this movie. It's on the "artsy" side, but I think it goes with the flow of the film very well.

*  I loved Patricia Clarkson in this movie. Such passion behind her role.

* The acting, in general was pretty darn good. Were there some rough patches? Most certainly! But, the fact that the majority of this movie is carried by children (who, a lot of the time, have had very little on screen time) kind of makes those rough patches "ok".

* The bedroom scene with Phoebe and her mother makes me cry every time. That's right, ME, cry. I'm not sure what it is about that particular scene that moves me so, it's just so beautifully done.

* I love how frustrated Felicity Huffman's character gets when everybody tries to tell her that Phoebe isn't "normal". In her mind, if Phoebe isn't normal, than it must be her fault and that's not something she's ready to come to terms with. I think the progression of this realization is really nice.

* The score on this movie is very cohesive and enjoyable.


* Little classmates of Phoebe...unless you've read the given piece of audition material, you really can't know it word for word and you most definitely can't perform it with inflection and such mockingly-intense-feeling. This actually goes for Phoebe too.

* When do these kids get all this free time at school? No wonder graduation rates are so low these days, kids are left unattended for large portions of the day and are creating weird, aerial view houses.

*  For being SO raw and bloody, Phoebe's hands seem to heel overnight in some scenes. Continuity anyone? Anyone?

Now Mother..

This movie is rated PG-13. There is some mild cursing (there is 1 F work but it's pretty muffled) and one scene where sex is...discussed (if young girls talking about what they thought they read in a sex-ed book really counts as "discussing"). The main theme of the movie is diagnosing Phoebe, so be prepared to discuss the out come of that, though they do a very good job of that towards the end of the film.

I really like this movie. Could I pick it apart further and complain about other aspects of it? Yes, most definitely. I think what makes it such a good movie to me is the fact that though they took such an old story (Alice in Wonderland), it was done in such a way that it was completely new. Everybody felt so genuine and endearing that the small things (such as getting the syncing right during the music number...) are pushed into the corner. 4/5 stars from me.

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