There aren’t very many children that don’t know the immortal story of Dorothy and her adventures in the land of Oz. No matter whether people have seen the characters in the movies or read the classic novels, there is something about Dorothy’s story that is simply timeless, which is why generations of children immediately recognize characters like Toto, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman and, of course, Dorothy herself. But what happened when Dorothy got back from Oz? Writer and director Hugh Gross attempts to answer that question in the touching new film After the Wizard. Here’s a brief synopsis:
After the Wizard is a heartfelt, often humorous and always entertaining story about a 12-year-old girl named Elizabeth who lives in an orphanage in Kingman, Kansas. Like millions of girls her age she has read the beloved L. Frank Baum novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” countless times. But unlike other girls, Elizabeth believes she is Dorothy…and maybe she is. With Elizabeth referring to herself as Dorothy and constantly looking for Toto and a way back to Oz, the headmistress at the orphanage worries about Elizabeth and fears that she is losing touch with reality.
Meanwhile back in Oz things have not gone well for the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman or the Lion. Oz is in trouble and they believe Dorothy is the one person who can help save their home, just as she did before. Only this time they have to find her. An unforgettable story unfolds as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman search for and are reunited with Dorothy…the kind of story that lives on in the imagination and hearts of people forever.
This movie was highly absorbing, if a little confusing. In one place, Elizabeth, a young girl living in an orphanage, is suffering from the delusion that she is actually Dorothy, the young heroine of Frank Baum’s novels. In another, the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow travel across the United States searching for Dorothy in the hopes that she can help them bring peace to Oz once more. While the Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow are visible to all the people they meet on their journey, they can’t be seen by the headmistress or the other children at the orphanage. The story was highly engaging and it couldn’t help but make my husband and me wonder what was imagined and what was real, which is exactly what I believe Hugh Gross had in mind.
Overall, the story is heart-warming and emotional. It inspired me to think back on my childhood days, the days when I understood imagining something can sometimes be enough to make it real. After the Wizard is currently showing in select theatres in the United States and is also available to purchase on DVD. If you’re looking for an engaging story that blends fantasy and reality to enjoy on family movie night, check out After the Wizard for yourself. It’s sure to remind you of your own love of these classic characters and the power of a child’s imagination.