Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Alice Upside Down

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
Profanity:None
Nudity/Sex:Very mild references, boys with shirts off
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Reference to sad death and illness
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters

Based on the popular series of books by Phylis Reynolds Naylor, this understated but sensitive and warm-hearted film is funny, touching, and wise.

Middle school is miserable enough, but for Alice (Alyson Stoner) there are complications that are even more horrifying. She is brand new in town because her father (Luke Perry)
has just bought a music store in Silver Spring, Maryland, so they have moved away from everyone they know. She has gotten off on the wrong foot with just about everyone — a neighbor who is in her class in school (a muddy handshake and un-gracious rejection of her family’s gift of a meatloaf dinner), a boy from school (she accidentally opened the door to the changing room at the store and saw him in his boxers), and her terrifying new teacher, Mrs. Plotkin (Penny Marshall, in a welcome return to performing) by insisting that she was supposed to be moved to another class. But the most important reason she feels out of place (aside from being 11 years old) is that she misses her mother, who died when she was little, and her father does not want to talk about her.

Naylor and screenwriters Meghan Heritage and Sandy Tung have ably evoked the tumultuousness of 6th grade as Alice swings back and forth from misery to ecstasy and from over-confidence to utter humiliation and back again. When Miss Cole (Ashley Drane), the teacher she idealizes, directs the school play, Alice thinks all of her problems will be solved. All she needs to do is get the lead and fix the teacher up with her father so they can unite in marriage and in recognizing Alice as the fabulously talented, confident, and popular girl she knows she is destined to be.

Of course, that isn’t the way it all works out. Alice lapses into daydreams, forgets to do her homework, and finds that she did not inherit her mother’s gift for singing. But she also discovers that she can learn from her mistakes and that everyone deserves a second chance.

Stoner is an appealingly sincere young actress with a gift for comedy and “High School Musical’s” Lucas Grabeel is terrific as her older brother. Co-screenwriter Tung directs with enough respect for his characters and the audience that he lets everyone learn some lessons without having a sit-com resolution to every situation. It’s a fine family film, enthusiastically received when I introduced it at the Tallgrass Film Festival and I was delighted when it came in second for the festival’s audience award.



Previous Posts

Comic-Con 2014: Days 3 and 4
Want to know what it looks like inside the legendary Hall H, the biggest venue at Comic-Con, the one where people camp out for days in advance to see the biggest stars and the coolest advance previews? When LAIKA CEO and animator Travis Knight asked the audience to send get-well love to "The Boxtrol

posted 11:02:02pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Behind the Scenes Clip: Adam Levine in "Begin Again"
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/RhZTVijgpb8?rel=0" frameborder="0"] I have one copy of the wonderful soundtrack to give away!  Send me an email at moviemom@moviemom.com with Levine in the subject line and tell me your favorite song of the summer.  Don't forget your

posted 3:59:43pm Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Thunder Levin of "Sharknado" and "Sharknado 2"
One of the highlights of Comic-Con was the chance to catch up with Thunder Levin, screenwriter of the sensation, "Sharknado" and the sequel, "Sharknado 2," which premieres tonight on Syfy.  The original was remarkable for its over-the-top storyline and even more for the Twitter-nado it inspired.  

posted 7:37:17am Jul. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Contest Winner -- "Earth to Echo's" GoPro Camera
Thanks to all who entered!  This contest had far more entries than any other I've ever run.  Congratulations to the lucky winner! WINNER OF THE GOPRO CAMERA: Susan D. Burkburnett, TX  

posted 11:54:55pm Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Intuition -- A Short Film from Danielle Lurie
I love this short film from Danielle Lurie about a young woman who needs to learn to listen to her heart, with a wonderful performance by Montse Muñoz. [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101953117[/vimeo]

posted 10:09:01am Jul. 29, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.