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5 Magical Life Lessons from Alice Through the Looking Glass

Updated on June 20, 2016
Boundless Amber profile image

Amber loves to read fairy tales and is always interested in personal development and self help.

the mad hatter
the mad hatter

The Movie

I just watched Alice through the Looking Glass by Disney and I wouldn't say it's a great movie. It gave me goosebumps not because of the plot, but because of the life lessons that I can't help but pick up as the movie unfolds. Alice's bravery is astounding, and it has given me some courage as well. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known by his pen name Lewis Carroll, had said that there was no true purpose to his making of this well-loved classic, and that he wrote the story simply to entertain a young girl, Alice Liddell who was the daughter of the Dean of Christ Church College. But despite that, Alice in Wonderland has wonderful life lessons that I have incorporated into my daily life ever since I watched the sequel Alice through The Looking Glass.


The mad hatter, Alice's best friend, was in trouble. Alice, a ship captain, was summoned to return to Wonderland because her Wonderland friends fear that the hatter might die if Alice doesn't help him. The hatter was indeed not acting as his usual jolly self, and Alice is determined to help him regardless of the consequences, even if it meant going back in time.

Verdict for Alice Through the Looking Glass

3 stars for Alice Through the Looking Glass

The Bad

  • The plot could be more creative and interesting
  • The movie felt pretty rushed

The Great

  • Colorfulness and perfect portrayal of Wonderland
  • Alice's courage inspired me tremendously
  • The message it brought across


Johnny Depp
The Mad Hatter
Mia Wasikowska
Alice Kingsleigh
Helena Bonham Carter
The Red Queen
Anne Hathaway
The White Queen
Sacha Baron Cohen
Rhys Ifans
The Hatter's father
Matt Lucas
Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Louis Ashbourne Serkis
Young Mad Hatter
Lindsay Duncan
Helen Kingsleigh
mia wasikowska as alice
mia wasikowska as alice

#1 | The only way to achieve the impossible is to believe that it is possible

Alice was always down to do something impossible. As I began to adopt the same outlook into my life, I realized significant changes in my level of persistence and enthusiasm.

Alice: This is impossible!

Mad hatter: Only if you believe it is.

Anything is possible, if you believe it to be. I have had my fair share of things that I believe to be impossible, but now that I think of it, initial enthusiasm to start on something new (i.e. a campaign or an idea for a web app) has always been extinguished by second thoughts. When you act on your new idea without letting second thoughts have a chance to strike, you won't have nonsensical thoughts about how impossible your idea is. Doubting oneself is the number one killer of great ideas. People believe you if you believe yourself. If you are on the track, or just at the starting point, of doing something you believe to be great, embrace this type of mindset and see yourself achieve things that seem to be impossible.

#2 | The best people are mad

Well, not literally mad. The people crazy enough to be different come up with the most outstanding ideas. Don't try to squeeze the madness into yourself and assume that you will come up with an out-of-the-box idea. Every one of us has a hint of madness in us, and when paired with our natural callings, unleashes itself. We have been brought up to give and accept only rigid yes or no answers, and this contradiction encourages us to just be free and recover the childlike wonderment and boundless creativity that we buried as we grow up to be the typical adult.

Alice: Have I gone mad?

Mad Hatter: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

(As quoted from the film Alice through the Looking Glass. In the original book Alice in Wonderland, the characters' dialogues are reversed.)

an excerpt
an excerpt
alice in the real world is regarded as "mad"
alice in the real world is regarded as "mad"

#3 | You always have a choice

In the movie, Alice fights for her own dreams and ambitions with great courage. She takes on whatever obstacles that come along the way, and refuses to be suppressed by unreasonable authority (in this case, Hamish, whom Alice rejected publicly in the 2010 Alice in Wonderland film).

Many people blame their misfortune on fate and other people, but when the truth is, they allowed it to happen to themselves. It was the choices you picked that steered you in the direction you are today. If a stream of choices ends in your failure, then so be it! Failure is an unrivaled teacher. Ask yourself if you're willing to learn from the hundred failures before you achieve the first win.

Alice's dress
Alice's dress

#4 | Alice portrayed feminism

Alice is shown to be strong and independent, and doesn't view marriage as a goal that she has to achieve, much to the distress of her mother, who does not share Alice's insatiable bravery and curiosity.

Alice's mother: You can’t just make things the way you want, Alice. Every woman has to face that. I had to.

In the movie, Alice didn't submit to gender norms, which often leads to her being judged over and over again for her headstrong personality and inability to marry. She stood firm and protected her dreams. When she showed up at a formal event in a colorful chinese outfit she got from one of her voyages on "The Wonder" (her father's ship), people criticized her for not abiding by the fashion trends of the day, but she wore whatever outfit she wanted because it made her happy. Nonsensical concerns like the fashion trends simply do not bother her. She has big dreams, she is different, she is mad, and she knows that, and embraces that.

Alice is a reminder that we should accept ourselves and our differences. Who cares whatever people see of us? What's most important is how we see ourselves. Alice is brave because she is confident in herself. Her confidence is internal, unlike people who focus their energy on external pleasures, who define themselves by the number of followers, likes, and shares they get.

We should surround ourselves with things that make us happy and not things that weaken our self-esteem.

#5 | Don't get caught up in the past

Alice tried to go back in time to save the Mad Hatter's family from the wrath of the Red Queen, but no matter what she did, the outcome was still the same, and she realized that the past cannot be changed, even if you could get your hands on a chronosphere (a device that enables you to return to the past).

Alice: You cannot change the past, but you can learn something from it.

Alice gains wisdom from every one of her adventures, and from this particular time-twisting voyage, she understood that the only thing she can do about the past is to learn from it.

Every time we end up in failure, we tend to look back unto the past and whine about how things would be different if we had done this or that. Instead of getting caught up about the past and how we wish we could change it, we should be glad that we ended up in failure, because then there will be another marvelous lesson to learn from.

Alice: Time is many things, but he is not money and he is not our enemy.
Alice: Time is many things, but he is not money and he is not our enemy.

Experience Alice Through the Looking Glass for yourself

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Alice Through the Looking Glass

Alice Through the Looking Glass: the Book by Disney Press

Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time
Alice Through the Looking Glass: A Matter of Time

An illustrated novel of the adventures of Alice


The Trailer

I hope you are as moved at Alice's courage as I am. If you liked this piece, I would really appreciate it if you follow me for similar stories. Thank you for reading!

All pictures belong to disney alice through the looking glass and the works of lewis carroll


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