Alice Through the Looking Glass

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Alice Through the Looking Glass Movie Poster Image
Uneven, less-violent sequel has girl-empowerment theme.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 113 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 24 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

A girl/woman can do whatever she puts her mind to. Family and friends who will help protect you and love you unconditionally are extremely important.

Positive role models & representations

Alice is a courageous, determined, strong-willed young woman who bucks trends and works as a sea captain on her father's ship. She's willing to risk her safety to go back in time to help the Mad Hatter. The Mad Hatter loves his family and wishes, more than anything, that he could be with them again. Mirana apologizes to Iracebeth for committing a wrong against her that leads to tragedy.

Violence

In the regular world, Alice is institutionalized and diagnosed with hysteria. She plunges a needle into her doctor to get away from him. Alice's ship is caught in a storm that nearly kills her crew. Use of the chronosphere almost destroys all of Underland. One comical death.

Sex

Time and the Red Queen hug and briefly hold hands.

Language

Insults like "imbecile," "idiot," "ignorant peasant," "stupid," "vile," "bloody," "disappointment."

Consumerism

None in the movie, but like all Disney movies, there's plenty of related merchandise available.

Drinking, drugs & smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Alice Through the Looking Glass is the less-violent sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland, based on Lewis Carroll's classic tales. Although Mia WasikowskaJohnny Depp, and other main characters reprise their roles, Tim Burton isn't the director this time. While there are certainly moments of peril and fantasy violence -- including some close calls when key characters seem on the verge of death -- the sequel is actually less scary/bloodthirsty than its predecessor. There's one comical death (someone's time is literally up) and tense moments when it seems like the past, present, and future have been destroyed. Alice's courage and determination make her a force to be reckoned with, even though she's considered "hysterical" back in 19th-century England. Expect some insults along the lines of "imbecile" and "stupid."

User Reviews

Parent of a 6, 8, and 10 year old Written byxmommyjessicax May 26, 2016

The First One Was Much Better. This One Was Meh..

This movie surely wasnt as good as the first one.. im glad i brought my older children not the youngest because i think he would of fallen asleep. Not exciting.... Continue reading
Adult Written byStevie111 May 29, 2016

Alice is boring and just not as good as I was hoping

Alice Through the Looking Glass really let me down. It focused too much on trying to be sweet and ended up a poorly made and boring film. The first one had acti... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 2, 2016

Awesome sequel, great role models!

I have seen many reviews that call this "boring". This is definitely not true. This is a satisfying sequel and an amazing movie. I love the backstori... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byilovemoviesandtv May 28, 2016

Mostly boring, some fun movements

I really wish they focused on why Alice sees wonderland and why she is the way she is. But no, it was just about her search for wonder in life and saving her fr... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on Lewis Carroll's classic books, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS is the sequel to 2010's Alice in Wonderland, once again starring Mia Wasikowska as Alice and Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. A few years have passed since Alice, facing an engagement she didn't want, was first in Underland. Stripped of her satisfying career as a sea captain on her father's trading ship (thanks to her vengeful ex-fiance) and facing the prospect of life as a clerk, Alice ends up back in the other world, where the Hatter is sickly and depressed -- convinced that his entire family is alive, even though everyone knows they perished in a Jabberwocky-caused fire long ago. Princess Mirana (Anne Hathaway) tasks Alice with finding Time (Sacha Baron Cohen), stealing his chronosphere, traveling to the past, and stopping the Hatter family's deaths. But as Alice quickly finds out, stealing the chronosphere has life-altering consequences, made all the worse because the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter) is also interested in stealing it and using it for her own purposes. 

Is it any good?

Visually stimulating but uneven, this sequel owes a debt to Burton's trippy original but lacks cohesive narrative other than to explain the origins of Hatter's sadness and the Red Queen's head. The Mad Hatter is especially reduced to a grieving, unstable phantom of his previous self, leaving poor Depp with little to do other than make alternating sad, hopeful, and cheerful eyes at Alice. Alice is still plucky, but now there's an edge to her, like when she angrily tells her mother that she hopes never to end up like her. And the supporting players so beloved in the first film make only brief appearances, while Cohen and Carter chew up the scenery.

James Bobin does his best to conjure the same whimsical fantasy land that Burton did the first time around, but the tone in Alice Through the Looking Glass is dark, uncomfortable, and slightly underwhelming. There's some humor, usually courtesy of Cohen, but otherwise this is a tale of a family lost and two sisters torn apart by a flimsy, childhood lie. Alan Rickman's absence is noticeable, although his voice makes an appearance at the beginning of the story. And although Wasikowska is quite luminous and talented an actress, the movie is entertaining but not the extraordinary adaptation that Carroll's work deserves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about movie adaptations of classic books. What makes a movie version of a book worth watching? Does Alice Through the Looking Glass succeed? How does it compare with the original source and other adaptations?

  • Does the movie have any role models? If so, who are they? What makes Alice brave? What makes the Hatter sad?

  • How does Alice demonstrate courage? Why is that an important character strength?

  • What parts of the movie were scary? How did it compare to the first one? How much scary stuff can young kids handle?

Movie details

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love fantasy

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate