Phoebe in Wonderland

Feeling oh-so-thrilled about this new movie. It is practically my own perfect recipe. One part  lil’ girl with Tourette’s Syndrome (which as you probably know by now, I have) then add in a dash of Alice in Wonderland and a pinch of what looks like artistic and surreal cinemetography.. and I am in heaven. Seems like it may ring true within me – which inevitably means I’ll be fighting back tears throughout the duration of it.

Best part? I’ll be in the DC area this weekend and will hopefully be able to see it! Kismet!

Here is the official site  for the movie. Below is what I received from The Tourette Syndrome Association in my email today… couldn’t find a copy online, so copied it here for those interested.

New Theatrical Release

“Phoebe in Wonderland”

Features Actress Elle Fanning as a

Young Girl with Tourette Syndrome


“The national Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc. would like to inform you of the theatrical release of Phoebe in Wonderland this Friday, March 6. This fictional, highly creative story features Elle Fanning as the title character, Phoebe, who has Tourette Syndrome. Although TS is not the main focus of the film, the disorder plays an important role in the character’s development and impacts the people around her. The movie opens this weekend in the following select cities: Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, D.C., Seattle, Miami and Dallas.


The film is described by its creators as, “…a 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.” 


Felicity Huffman and Bill Pullman star as Phoebe’s parents, Patricia Clarkson as Phoebe’s drama teacher and Campbell Scott as the school principal. 

The film’s writer and director, Daniel Barnz, used his filmmaking skills and artistic vision to create an imaginative and compassionate story about a young girl living with the disorder.

Following is a Q&A with Daniel Barnz:

 Why did you choose to give Phoebe Tourette Syndrome?
I wanted to make a film that was anti-conformist in spirit, and Tourette Syndrome is a neurological disorder in which you are forced to break rules. I was interested in how people think children with Tourette Syndrome are choosing to act a certain way (i.e. why is this child acting out?), and then learn that, in fact, there is no choice. 
I’ve also been a long-time Oliver Sacks junkie, and have always been blown away by how his descriptions of neurological disorders become larger metaphors for life – they offer these amazing prisms through which we can view human experience. I wanted to see if I could do something similar in film – what happens to a character who is forced to break rules in a rule-obsessed society?


How do you think Phoebe having TS affected the story and the people around her?
It’s certainly a struggle for Phoebe and for her family, but I wanted to emphasize equally the benefits of difference – how being different can make you a stronger, better person. It’s not just that it’s okay to be different, but you can actually derive strength from it. The other characters sense this, and learn from Phoebe. Felicity’s character, for example, keeps butting up against the conformist pressures of academia and motherhood. By seeing how her daughter grows and becomes stronger in the face of adversity, she does too. Like many parents, she learns from her child.
What do you hope people will walk away from this film knowing about TS?
Most importantly, I hope people understand that Tourette Syndrome does not define a person; it is a part – but not all – of a person. One of the things the film tries to do is layer in the Tourette Syndrome as part of Phoebe’s overall coming-of age story, and this is not an easy thing to do. Audiences are used to seeing films about neurological disorders in which the disorder defines the whole of the narrative/character. In Phoebe in Wonderland, it is a part of the story, a part of Phoebe, and I hope audiences take away that there are no “Tourette Syndrome people” – there are people who have Tourette Syndrome. “


Phoebe in Wonderland 2


“It’s not just that it’s okay to be different, but you can actually derive strength from it.” Love that. Go check it out.

Chrysti (who, assuming I get all packed .. will be posting giveaway winners tonight)


18 Responses

  1. Chrysti,

    this looks like an amazing movie. I love love love a well-written story told through amazing actors with an incredible score. I think this movie has all that in spades. At least I hope so!

    I love the idea of deriving strength from what others see as a limitation. I saw something like that in the storyline on “Lie to Me” last night.

  2. Chrysti,
    thanks for this post. I had not heard of this movie. I hope it takes off & we can see it locally.

  3. Hi, Chrysti! Thanks for the tip on this movie! I’ll add it to my list of things to watch! :-)

  4. This looks wonderful Chrysti ! I can’t wait to see it. Being who you are with all the bumps and bruises and still loving that…now, that is a goal to set !

    Happy packing ! and Bon Voyage !

  5. I’ve already written this movie down as a ‘must see’…hopefully it will come here, but if it doesn’t I’ll watch for it on DVD. Thanks for the info!

  6. Wow This looks awesome, I’m posting a link to it now!
    We will probably have to wait ages for it to come downunder though :(

  7. My son has tourettes syndrome. he is 28 now and doing quite well. this film sounds like something i must see! while he was growing up i always emphasized to him that although he could not always control his behavior, nevertheless the consequences of it would always be something he would have to deal with . Life is not fair. Other adults and children are ignorant. he would be made fun of. laughed at. stared at. he had to figure out survival strategies that worked for him – socially, physically and his own methods of learning.
    i am very proud of him. it hasn’t been easy.

  8. Hey Chrysti – thanks for posting this, I’m not very informed on this subject so will have to check it out. Sounds like a wonderful movie about triumphs over personal struggles….

    btw – you can pick up the award I passed on to you when you get back, it’s posted on my blog

  9. This movie looks fantastic… I love the story, the actors (Dakota Fanning’s little sister). I don’t know much about TS, but I do love movies and books that have something to do with breaking through barriers after struggling with an illness, addictions, etc. I can see how you are thrilled. This will be on my list of must sees.
    Thanks for posting this.

  10. This looks amazing. Can’t wait to see it. Thanks, I’ve forwarded your post to my friend with Tourettes.

  11. nice blog with nice contents

  12. I hope to see this movie if it makes it to my area… we don’t get much in the way of movies such as this in our theaters. Usually have to get them on DVD.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. this film looks incredible — i am holding back tears. I hope to see it one day.


  14. thank you for sharing this movie, i had never heard of it and it sounds right up my alley!

  15. I very interested in the style of any posts you read, so interesting

  16. I do know about TS, have a friend who’s child has it…you know there are many who were never diagnosis way back in my day!!! So very sad that even today people continue to react indifferently to those with it. Blessings sweetie!!!

  17. Just watched the trailer….loved it. Can’t wait to watch and absorb. Thank-you for sharing

  18. Good blogpost, I favorited your blog so I can visit again in the future, Cheers

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