A frustratingly not-terrible action thriller.
It probably comes as no surprise that the man who wrote Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was not an absolute paragon of normality. His biographers have recently revealed that the Rev. Charles Dodgson (who wrote under the pen name Lewis Carroll) had an obsession with young girls, which he satisfied through hundreds of photographic studies and through lots of chummy friendships and correspondence. "Dreamchild" deals with his obsession as a problem that he tried to resolve in basically healthy ways, but it does argue that the writing of Alice created lifelong problems for the girl who inspired it.
According to this movie, which is fiction inspired by fact, the original Alice was a girl named Alice Liddell. She suffered Dodgson's attentions for a time and allowed herself to be rowed up and down a river by him one sunny afternoon, but she was more interested in playing with her friends than in having the original manuscript of Alice read to her. "But I wrote this just for you!" protests the anguished clergyman (played with a nice quiet intensity by Ian Holm).
"Dreamchild" is not, in any event, a psychological case study.
It's too much fun for that. The movie begins some 70 years after the book was published. The young girl is now 80 years old, is known as Mrs. Alice Hargreaves (Coral Browne) and is sailing for America to receive an honorary degree on the centennial of Dodgson's birth. She is accompanied by a young traveling companion named Lucy (Nicola Cowper), and on arrival in New York in 1932 she is surrounded by a mob of aggressive newspaper reporters. One of them (Peter Gallagher) succeeds in pushing his way into Mrs. Hargreaves' life and Lucy's heart.