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Alice on the big screen

TPB1988's picture

This weekend I watched Phoebe in Wonderland and after reading Alice in Wonderland it made so much more sense to me than it did the first time I saw it. I think that might say something about interpretations and parodies. At times it is helpful to watch the original to truly comprehend what is going on with the other version. The movie was so wonderful and I think it helped me understand Alice a little more. Sometimes while I was reading Alice it was difficult for me to follow all the nonsense and find the deeper meaning behind all the puns and parodies. Having an alternative film version put things in a better perspective for me.
In the movie the drama teacher is having an Alice in Wonderland play and in this play anything goes. Phoebe is cast as Alice which suits her because like Alice she seems to feel bored and out of place in real life but once she is in “Wonderland” everything is better. In the play there are no rules and if there are rules they do not seem normal to everyone else so the play itself is Wonderland. For example, in the play a little boy is allowed to play the red queen but in real life no one accepts the fact that a boy can play a woman’s part and often refer to him as a “faggot”.

Red Queen Red Queen

The children also direct themselves while they are onstage which is very different from a typical school atmosphere where teachers have strict guidelines.
Many times in the movie some parts just do not make sense like when Phoebe is at her therapist’s office and he tells her she can say anything and she says “I have nothing to say” which is odd considering the opportunity she has to say anything meanwhile, the audience knows she actually has a lot to talk about. The adults in the movie are very odd and at times are like the Wonderland characters in that they do not understand anything, or need to be taken care of by children. Everything Phoebe does or says is incorrectly interpreted by her parents and the other adults around her and the only one who understands the situation in the entire movie is Phoebe’s little seven year old sister Olivia. Throughout the movie Olivia explains to her mother the problems that are happening with Phoebe and her mother still does not understand. This child teaching adult situation is also seen in the book such as when Alice is helping the White Queen with her pin and the White Queen hurts herself.
Ultimately Phoebe is suffering from a disease that does not let her make sense of her actions and although she does not understand what is wrong with her, she does know she feels different than she was before (similar to how Alice felt she had changed since the morning) and like she is always running just to stay in the same place.

Running in Same Place

I think watching an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland was a great idea to add to the syllaship and I am shocked at how effective it was in helping me understand the text.


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