Change to: Still mourning the death of her mother a few years back, Alice McKinley finds her life seriously disrupted when her father Ben buys a store and moves her and her older brother Lester to a new town. In the painful throes of adolescence, Alice has a rough time adjusting to her new school, especially after she gets the stern Mrs. Plotkin as her core teacher. Feeling shy and isolated, Alice frequently escapes into a vivid fantasy life that occasionally gets her into hot water. But with a little unexpected help from Mrs. Plotkin, Alice learns not to judge by appearances or jump to conclusions. More importantly, she confronts her father over his inability to accept their loss and move on into the future.
Finally, a film that explores the challenges and insecurities facing middle school girls minus an overabundance of attitude. Alice Upside Down
, based on the book The Agony of Alice
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, is the story of Alice (Alyson Stoner), an insecure 6th grader who's mother died several years ago who's just moved to a new town where she'll be entering middle school. A magnet for embarrassing moments, Alice's first meetings with her neighbor Elizabeth (Parker McKenna Posey) and soon-to-be-classmate Patrick (Dylan McLaughlin) are hardly omens of a smooth introduction to middle school. Worse yet, the first day of school finds Alice enrolled in nightmare teacher Mrs. Plotkin's (Penny Marshall) homeroom class, at odds with the school principal, and saddled with a derogatory nickname that threatens to stick. Like many adolescents, Alice deals with her self-doubt by fantasizing about encounters in which she's confident and popular and by shutting out her father Ben (Luke Perry) and her older brother Lester (Lucas Grabeel). As Alice struggles to find her place in middle school, she matures both emotionally and socially and her relationships with her family, friends, and teacher Mrs. Plotkin begin to change and grow in positive ways. What's so refreshing about Alice Upside Down
is that the film truly captures the insecurities of being an 11-year-old about to enter middle school without the abundance of teen attitude so popular in contemporary films. Alice is the adolescent every parent hopes for--she's a real, likeable kid who's changing and maturing into a strong young woman. (Ages 7 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
Stills from Alice Upside Down (Click for larger image)
Beyond Alice Upside Down