Phoebe in Wonderland
Feeling oh-so-thrilled about this new movie. It is practically my own perfect recipe. One partlil' 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!
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. "
"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.