Classics: Matilda (1996)

Eating Chocolate Cake was never the same after seeing this classic kids flick.


DIRECTOR:  Danny DeVito

STARRING:  Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Mara Wilson

SCREENPLAY:  Roald Dahl (book), Nicholas Kazan

GENRE:  Comedy/Family

RUNTIME:  98 mins

★★★★ 4 Stars 

Who doesn’t remember watching Bruce Bogtrotter eat an entire Chocolate cake as a kid?  Prior to re-watching this film I didn’t remember much of it, but I certainly remembered that.

For anyone who missed this timeless childhood classic, a) what is wrong with you? Go watch it immediately! b) Here is what the film is about:

Matilda is a young girl, with an incredible intellect and an equally incredibly horrid family. When she finally gets to go to school and expand her love of learning she stumbles upon a family secret that changes her life. She also has super telekinetic powers BTW.

If anyone here has read even a single Roald Dahl book, you will know that, while they are designed for children, realistically, there is always some horrible creepy aspect that makes you wonder how suitable it was for children.  Matilda is no different.   It has not so subtle undertones of child abuse, abuse of power, murder, psychological abuse…the list goes on.  And all in a film labelled as ‘Family Friendly.’  OK, so I am being over dramatic.  If you watch this film with your kids, they will love it.  And the darker tones will go right over their heads, just as it did when we were kids. But just be warned if your children are sensitive to any of those subjects.

Pam Ferris who traditionally in the UK plays fluffy, lovable, motherly types, takes a HUGE step away from that here and plays the deplorable Miss Trunchball, the principal of Matilda school.  And this character is just as loathable as her usual characters are lovable.  This shows what an amazing range she has as an actress that she can make me forget all the previous performances I have seen her in and sit back and watch as she became one of the most hated villains in children’s films ever.  Mara Wilson holds her own beautifully in this film, a few years after her performance in Mrs Doubtfire I believe.  Amazing talent in such a young actress, and it is a shame that she fell of the bandwagon and we never got to see her bloom as an adult actress.  

This film does come with some good messages though.  It teaches kids that it can be cool to be smart, to read books and enjoy learning.  That it is OK to not be the same as your family, and to enjoy doing your own thing.  Its ok to stand up for yourself against bullies.  So yes it may be dark and creepy, but it does send some lovely messages as well.  The fact it also seems to condone sneaking into people houses and fucking shit up is besides the point.

I watched this film with my older sister over the weekend, just as a cozy reminder of how happy films like this made us when we were kids. It can be enjoyed by all ages with a few Jokes thrown in there for the adults “Moby Dick” anyone??  But do make sure that this film will be suitable for your little ones before sitting down to watch it.  I wouldn’t want to b responsible for scarring someone’s child for life.  OK? Great, thanks.

Matilda is Available in the UK to watch on Netfilx now! 

#KidsFilms #ClassicFilms #MovieBlog #FilmReview #Matilda #Movies #Reviews #FilmBlog

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