Dreamchild (1985) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: Exploring the somewhat darker and more mysterious side of the Lewis Carroll's classic book, the movie follows Alice Liddell (the book's inspiration) as an old woman who is haunted by the characters, by whom she was once so amused. As she thinks back on it, she starts to see her relationship with… Runtime: 94 min Release Date: 04 Oct 1985
Dreamchild is a beautiful and tender exploration of the non-sexual love of children which prompted the Rev. Charles Dodgson AKA Lewis Carroll to write _Alice in Wonderland_. The story begins in 1932 as 80 year old Alice Hargreaves nee Liddell, the inspiration for the fictional Alice and her timid personal maid Lucy reach New York City to participate in a centenary celebration of Dogson's birth. Coral Browne is outstanding as Mrs. Hargreaves and Ian Holm plays Dodgson perfectly. Amelia Shankley is also excellent as the young Alice, seen in flashbacks and "dream" sequences <more>
involving characters from the book. The puppets, for lack of a better word, created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop ?? , are faithful recreations of the original Tenniel drawings and, for the most part, much of their dialog is adapted from the book and wonderfully integrated into the film. Besides the main plot there are several sub-plots, and the clashes between the upper class British woman and the rude, intrusive press are quite amusing, especially so when one considers how much worse the "news media" have become. The film touches on the plight of Lucy, a docile servant to Mrs. Hargreaves who worries about her future after Mrs. Hargreaves "meets my maker," as she puts it. Luckily for Lucy there is the American reporter Jack, who falls in love with Lucy and eventually convinces her it is not solely his desire for money "You can tell when he's talking about money. His lips go all wet." which draws him to the two women. Through the flashbacks and dream sequences we see little Alice and Mrs. Hargreaves in various situations which shed more light on her friendship with Mr. Dodgson, whom she has almost completely forgotten as an old woman. Many details of the plot are taken directly from Alice in Wonderland and Dodgson's diaries and letters, making it an even greater pleasure for those familiar with his life. Initially Mrs. Hargreaves is terrified of dredging up long-forgotten memories but slowly comes to understand, accept, and express true appreciation for the love Dodgson felt for her, and many other children throughout his life.This beautiful and moving film didn't receive the recognition it deserves due to the timing of its release, which unfortunately coincided in the USA with the witch-hunts and hysteria of the baseless "child-care Satanic abuse" cases popping up all over the country. Dodgson was, by most standards, an unusual man whose life-long stutter and natural shyness made him uncomfortable with many adults, but with small children he worked magic. He was one of the first amateur photographers and some have interpreted his penchant for taking pictures of children "au naturel" as an indication of pedophilia. Anyone who has read his diaries or letters knows he was most scrupulous about taking these types of pictures and virtually never did so without receiving parental permission, often having a parent present during the session. Charles Dodgson loved children in a pure and non-sexual way and that love gave us two of the world's classics in children's literature. The film makes this perfectly clear and is a tribute to the genius and gentleness of this kind, loving, and brilliant man.
An amazing fictional depiction of Dodgeson & Alice (by drkjedi1-2)
This is a stunning film, there have been all kinds of rumors and stories about the Rev. Charles Dodgeson and just who he was. This film lovingly and sadly portrays a what-if tale about Alice Liddell, the real Alice, of his famous books and what Victorian society did to her memories of this delightful man. I am not a member of the camp that thinks Dodgeson had a unnatural love for little children I find it preposterous and slanderous to say the least. This movie portrays him brilliantly and Ian Holm is such a superb actor you really feel sad for the lonely man with no wife and children of his <more>
own who writes these wonderful tales only to be suspected of unacceptable feelings for the little girl. This movie gives us all that with some wonderfully creepy Wonderland sequences by Hensen's creature shop. Simply marvelous!
I absolutely fell in love with this film when I saw it in Denmark in 1988. I can add nothing to the praise already given on this board, but the story behind the film is equally amazing. Apparently, the producers, Thorn-EMI, shelved this gem due to a palace revolution in the company. It was tied up in a package with some films nobody would buy, to the mortification of director Gavin Millar, writer Dennis Potter, and star Coral Browne. It ran for a very short time in Shaftesbury Av., London, where Danish Carsten Brandt from Posthusteatret in Copenhagen saw it, secured a copy - upon which the <more>
film ran for four straight years, every evening in his theatre.I saw it some ten times during that run, and I suppose I shall never tire of it.It's alarming how easy it is to keep a good film down for years if it's not promoted properly. Luckily, it has found its way to both movie theatres and TV since.
Who cares for you? You're nothing but a pack of cards! (by aimless-46)
Let me start by simply saying that the reaction I had viewing this film was unlike any other viewing experience I can recall. Although I found it well written and produced, I was so disappointed by the 2/3's point that I almost stopped watching. Yet by the end I was absolutely embracing the whole thing. So if you are a Lewis Carroll fan keep an open mind and watch the whole thing, you may find the whole much greater than the sum of its parts. And you may even find yourself willing to accept the historical fiction as necessary to better tell the story.I suppose a large part of my initial <more>
negative reaction was due to the film's puzzling failure to capture a fundamental aspect of Alice Liddell's childhood personality. Alice spent much of her time in "Wonderland" being p .d off; at the illogic, the rudeness, and the selfishness of the characters she met there. Both Alice's were proper and confident little Victorian girls who took themselves very seriously. I am sure that this was one of many "Real Alice" personality traits that Carroll transplanted to his "Wonderland" Alice. Often amused by her reactions of irritation and frustration, he constructed many of the story elements with the intention of getting indigent reactions from Alice and her sisters. I had hoped that this connection would be made by the film and was disappointed that it was not explored, although in retrospect you could argue that the older Alice's reactions to the characters she meets in America are identical to Alice's reactions to the characters in Wonderland. That the film does not explore my pet topic was disappointing but ultimately not fatal.In all other respects the portrayal of young Alice Liddell was excellent. Amelia Shankley turned in a fine performance. She is clearly the best film Alice so far and it is a shame that they did not star her in an actual Alice film right after "Dreamchild" was completed. And Coral Browne was equally excellent as the older Alice.This film is about how Alice's mother who felt her daughter could find much better candidates for marriage as she moved into her teens essentially poisoned her memories of Dodgson, leading her to believe that there was something wrong about his feelings for her when in fact he was just a childlike personality who loved her more than his other child friends, but always with a shy innocence . It is also about the guilt the older Alice still feels over abandoning him just as she entered her teens, especially after all the innocent kindness he had shown. She is in denial about her affection for Dodgson and irritated because all the attention of his centennial is forcing her to recall those long-suppressed years of her life. And finally she feels that since she was not actually the little heroine who exhibited so much courage in "Wonderland", she does not deserve her sudden celebrity status. In her view she was catapulted into fame "by simply doing nothing". Remember that Wonderland Alice is arguably the bravest literary heroine of all time.What ultimately redeems the film is the climatic scene in the hall of Columbia University. Alice Liddell flashes back to a scene late in her relationship with Dodgson, a symbolic scene meant to represent the end of their relationship. She had outgrown him at this point in her life and she laughs and humiliates him as he attempts to sing his Lobster Quadrille song to the three Liddell sisters and their male suitors. When her mind returns to the present she hears the Columbia University orchestra and glee club performing the same song. She realizes that the story which she once rejected was in fact his personal tribute to her and that even after all these years each little detail of his creation is admired throughout the world. At this point she finally gets it. She goes back to the symbolic scene as her older sister Lorina reads the final paragraph from the Wonderland book, the one in which Dodgson reveals the reason he made up the story. Then the child Alice walks over, kisses Dodgson in apology, and places her head on his chest an omission for which she has long felt guilty . Then we are back in the hall and find that in place of her prepared speech she has read this same passage to the now applauding crowd.The point is that she finally understood that the story was a gift to her and to future generations of children, that she had inspired the story and had been the model for his heroine. With this realization came the final gift of knowing that the virtues Mr. Dodgson gave his heroine: innocence, courage, curiosity, wonder, kindness, intelligence, courtesy, humor, dignity, and a sense of justice; were virtues he credited to the real Alice.It is hard to imagine a better scene or sequence of scenes than the climatic one detailed above. Film and video cannot hope to compete with books in communicating thoughts. But with the right players film can visually communicate moments of character realization and transformation to a degree much more subtle and personal than what any author can write. This is the real magic of film and acting for the camera. In the end these climatic moments say everything that needs be said about the relationship between Dodgson and his "dreamchild". A truly great cinematic moment and my all-time favorite.
Very moody and stylish movie - whose plot switches between three venues - the 1860s when Lewis Carroll introduced the Wonderland tales to young Alice and her sisters - the 1930s when the aged Alice visited the U.S. months before her death - and the surreal world of the Alice in Wonderland stories with story characters portrayed by wickedly designed Jim Henson puppets Four actresses stand out in my memory - Coral Browne as the starchy old Alice - Amelia Shankley as the young selfcentered Alice - Nicola Cowper as old Alices companion and love interest to the young American reporter played by <more>
Peter Gallagher - and - in a small role - Caris Corfman as a wistful newspaper reporter - in addition to many fine British and American actorsMy only gripe is Ian Holm's age - Holm was in his early 50s when he portrayed Lewis Carroll - who was closer to 30 when he first told the stories - there were concerns in his time about the purity of his interest in his child friends and photography subjects - such as Alice - Ian Holm brings that frightfully to lifeThis film took great care in evoking the respective time periods - using beautiful set designs and photography - as a result - the movie is itself an exotic journey into other times and places - with Alice still as protagonist
The relationship between 10-year-old Alice Liddell, the young girl for whom "Alice's Adventures In Wonderland" was written, and Rev. Charles Dodgson a.k.a. Lweis Carroll, the book's author, is explored in this thought-provoking film.The former Alice Liddell, now Alice Hargreaves, is invited by Columbia University to give a speech on the centennial of Dodgson's / Carroll's birth. She meets a reporter who becomes her agent and romances her assistant. Meanwhile, she is haunted by childhood memories of her time spent with Mr. Dodgson.A mostly good script by Dennis Potter <more>
only disappoints when focusing on the romance. The excellent cast makes up for the few shortcomings. Amelia Shankley debuts as the young Alice Liddell, and gives a fine performance. She later appeared in a three part adaptation of A Little Princess 1986 and Red Riding Hood 1988 . Imogen Boorman, who plays older sister Lorina, went on to co-star in Hellbound: Hellraiser II 1988 .
The wonderland of memory is revisited by 80-year-old Alice Hargreaves, who as a child was the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice In Wonderland'. Spoiled by a lifetime of coddling, the aging Alice arrives with her young ward in New York City to honor, reluctantly, Reverend Charles Dodgeson aka Carroll , whom she recalls with unflattering cruelty as little more than a pathetic, lovestruck man with an embarrassing stutter. But soon the infirmities of age and the attention lavished on her in the New World begin to invoke the ghosts of her Victorian childhood, bringing to life the <more>
stories she once inspired and softening her rigid disposition. Some thematic strands are left dangling at the film's conclusion, but otherwise it's a charming fantasy about the redemptive powers of nostalgia, co-starring the delightfully malevolent Wonderland denizens of Muppet-man Jim Henson.
"Dreamchild" is an astonishing film with an extraordinary performance by Coral Browne as "Alice Hargreaves" the Alice of Lewis Carroll's published and private fantasies. This is a dark, evocative film, that considers the peculiarities of love and the madness that sometimes both inspires and derives from it. I give it three stars out of four.