Alice Upside Down

Movie review by
Nancy Davis Kho, Common Sense Media
Alice Upside Down Movie Poster Image
New-girl story with appealing Disney cast.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Positive messages about the need to discover one's talents and gifts, and not feeling discouraged if you are not always the star of the show. A close and supportive extended family is depicted.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Alice lies to her teacher and is sent to the principal's office, and is rude to her father at times. Siblings snip but are generally supportive of each other.

Violence & Scariness
Sexy Stuff

Mild innuendo from teen son to widowed father about his "needs." The same teen sings in a band called Naked Nomads and is pursued by female fans. Adults talk to kids about someone being "hot" in high school, and the father and his new girlfriend share one romantic on-screen kiss.


Build-A-Bear boxes and bears are heavily featured. Gateway computers show up in a few scenes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie is about an 11-year-old girl whose mother died five years earlier trying to negotiate a new school and find the right role model. A cherished teacher must leave school for heart surgery, but recovers. The tween heroine suffers what she considers incredible social embarrassment, repeatedly.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJanvierRain March 7, 2013


This movie had its moments- moments where I thought it was flowing really nicely, and becoming interesting, and then being with moments when I thought it was ex... Continue reading
Adult Written byMovieLover4Lyfe October 7, 2010
Fans of Disney will recognize many of the people in the film. Fans of the book series might enjoy this movie version although the books were, I think, far bette... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 15, 2013


A great film. Watched last night with friends. I'd recommend it to other friends
Kid, 11 years old July 8, 2013

Wow...Made Me Feel SO Much Better About My Life

Sure, everything turned out OK in the movie,but man is this movie depressing or what? All these bad things happen to Alice,it almost made me cry. This movie has... Continue reading

What's the story?

In ALICE UPSIDE DOWN, 11-year-old Alice McKinley (Alyson Stoner) has a double challenge: to adjust to life as the new kid in school in Silver Spring, and to find a female role model who can help negotiate the mysteries of growing up in the absence of her deceased mom. Her father (Luke Perry) and brother Lester (Lucas Grabeel) are well-meaning but clueless about Alice's inner turmoil, which reaches a fever pitch as the curtain rises on the school play. Will Alice learn to value her true gifts instead of coveting the successes of her classmates?

Is it any good?

The movie, based on the book The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, strikes the right note about the trials and tribulations of the middle school years. Girls from age 10 to 13 will relate not only to Alice's anxieties, but to her rich inner fantasy life in which she is rich, popular, beautiful, and favored by her teachers. It's nice to have a movie aimed at tweens where the pining is not for a cute boy, but for a friendly teacher.

The studio put together a cast sure to tap into Disney's audience, combining High School Musical's Grabeel with Camp Rock's Stoner. Both are appealing in their roles, and Grabeel gets a chance to sing again, albeit shirtless as part of his band's shtick. Alice's evolving relationship with her tough-as-nails teacher Mrs. Plotkin (Penny Marshall) rings true. Perry acquits himself nicely as the father dipping a toe in the dating waters again, though he doesn't quite seem old enough to have a teenaged son.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Alice's efforts to get assigned to a new classroom. Why is the choice of her teacher so important to her?

  • Discuss some of the events that Alice considers humiliating -- are they really so bad?

  • Have you ever had a teacher like Mrs. Plotkin, and was there anything you appreciated about her afterwards?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love school movies

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