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Review: 'Phoebe in Wonderland'

( PG-13 ) ( Monitor Movie Guide )

An unconventional child explores the power of her imagination.

Courtesy of Thinkfilm
A DIFFERENT WONDERLAND: Elle Fanning plays daydreamer Phoebe.

If, after Dakota's voice-over in "Coraline," you haven't had your annual fill of Fanning girls, now you can see Elle Fanning in "Phoebe in Wonderland," a Lifetime movie-of-the-week-style heart-tugger doubling as a phantasmagoria. (Lifetime, in fact, was a coproducer.) Fanning's Phoebe suffers from Tourette's syndrome, although the diagnosis comes rather late in the movie. She throws tantrums, bloodies her hands and knees, and shrieks in the night. When her drama teacher (Patricia Clarkson) casts her as the lead in a school production of "Alice in Wonderland," it's not only Phoebe whose daydreams go out of control. Daniel Barnz, the writer-director, also goes a bit flooey. There's a lot more perspiration than inspiration. Grade: C+ (Rated PG-13 for thematic material and brief strong language.)

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