Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Alice Through the Looking Glass Adoption Movie Review

In the wake of her father’s death, Alice Kingsleigh has sailed the sea on his boat, the Wonder. After more than a year away, she and her crew return, but Alice’s happy homecoming is quickly turned to sadness as she learns that she must either lose her father’s boat or her mother’s house. Before this can be resolved, Alice is whisked away to Underland, where one of her friends struggles with accepting a profound loss. The Mad Hatter has come to believe that his family is still alive, in spite of a widely-known tragedy which marked the last time his family was seen alive. Alice believes that she must travel through time to prevent his parents’ deaths, but that journey risks destroying the world. Will she make it in time, or will her task bring about the end of Time itself?

The Adoption Connection

There are no adoption themes, but there are themes of parental loss and family strife. Alice has lost her father; now she struggles with the thought of losing one of his dear possessions. The Mad Hatter’s whole family has been taken from him, although he believes they are still alive. Two sisters suffer from a deep hatred caused by a long-held secret.

Some kids who long for family connections that they have lost might resonate with the Mad Hatter, who falls into a nearly fatal depression when no one believes that he can reunite with his family.

A character says “You have a family… very important thing, a family. You only have one.”   


Strong Points

When a long-held secret is finally disclosed and apologized for, healing happens.

A character affirms, helpfully, that you “can’t change the past, but you can learn from it.”

Every hurt heart is healed, and every broken familial relationship is mended by story’s end.

The film shows how important it can be for someone to be believed. Being disbelieved sends the Mad Hatter into depression, and the Red Queen into anger. Being believed brings hope and healing.


We see scenes where the Mad Hatter is ignored, belittled, and shamed by his father. Although his father loves him, the Mad Hatter never knows it; his father only tells him that he’s proud of his son when his son manages to save him.

Weak Points

A music box presented to a cruel character features a decapitation. It’s bloodless, but it could be disturbing for some viewers.  


It’s interesting to see the different family-related struggles that are overcome by various characters. Alice must accept her father’s death in order to move on with her life – and she has to decide how to combine keeping his memory with living her life. The Hatter has been separated from his family, but refuses to accept their ultimate loss, and he is able to reunify with them. Two sisters have lost many years to a feud that could have been solved by a simple admission of truth and an apology.

Alice Through the Looking Glass has been roundly panned by critics, and I found it hard to follow, but in reflecting on the film, some of the family dynamics are interesting and worth seeing. The film seems best suited to kids ages 9-12 and their parents. 

Questions for Discussion

How did a secret hurt the Red and White Queens?

If you could travel in time, would you? When would you like to travel to?

Is it true that you can only have one family?

We all have a limited amount of time; what do you hope to do and be with the time you have this day, this year, and this lifetime?

Has anyone ever thought you weren’t telling the truth when you were? Has anyone ever believed you when you told the truth but didn’t think people would believe you?

Is there anyone that you’ve lost contact with that you wish you could see again?

The Mad Hatter felt like he didn’t deserve his family name; why do you think he thought that? What would you tell him, if he told you that?

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