Matilda (1996) Movie Review


Director: Danny DeVito

Writer: Nicholas Kazan, Robin Swicord (Screenplay) Roald Dahl (Book)

Starring: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, Paul Reubens, Tracey Walter

Plot: Story of a wonderful little girl, who happens to be a genius, and her wonderful teacher vs. the worst parents ever and the worst school principal imaginable.

Tagline – Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Perfect for Kids

Story: Matilda starts as the Wormwood family, father (DeVito) and Mother (Perlman) have their second child a daughter they name Matilda, they leave her at home while they go about their days, as she is left alone she starts to travel to the library between the ages of 4 and 6. Wanting to go to school Matilda finally gets her wish, when her father meets Trunchbull (Ferris) the principal of the school, a horrible woman that will torture and perform Olympic sports on children to punish them.

Matilda thrives in her first class under the calm and sweet Miss Honey (Davidtz) who is the first to see the genius that Matilda has as she looks to fight back against Trunchbull.

Thoughts on Matilda

Characters – Matilda is the sweet little girl that is nothing like the rest of her family, she is smart, a genius in fact, she has looked after herself at an infant age, she finally gets to attend school, later than the rest of the children, this doesn’t stop her kind nature helping change the school for the better. Mr and Mrs Wormwood are the parents of Matilda, they don’t really care about Matilda the way most parents would, leaving her to fend for herself, not letting her genius thrive. Miss Honey is the nice friendly teacher, one that anybody Matilda’s age would need to get through her education. Trunchbull is the principal of the school, she is beyond strict, she will punish the children by performing Olympic sports on them, javelin, hammer, shot putt or discus, she is one of the most frightening people you would ever meet in life.

PerformancesMara Wilson is a delight to watch as the young Matilda, she gives us all the innocence needed to make her character one you want to succeed. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are both great as the parents, Embeth Davidtz gives us such a king characters, while Pam Ferris does give us one of the most frightening characters in any kids movie.

StoryThe story here follows an incredible young girl that once she is free from her family with school learns about her own abilities that will help her fight back against anybody who isn’t nice to each other. This is a Roald Dahl story and one of the few that became a big thing in the 90’s, next to Witches, when movies were getting made from his work, this story works because it shows the difference between the pure innocent kind-nature little girl and the evil that is the principal that enjoys making children pay. This is a classic story of good facing evil and sending the clear message about treating people equal in life.

ComedyThe comedy in the film comes from how the bad characters are treated in the most part, you will laugh when they get what they deserve.

SettingsThe film uses a couple of settings, Matilda’s house, which has held her back, the school which is a mix of bright colours when Trunchbull is around and black and white, when she is around, as well as the clutter filled house that Trunchbull lives in.

Scene of the Movie – Unleashing the powers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The cake sequence.

Final Thoughts This is a delightfully fun kids movie, one that I grew up watching and it nails the comedy, the performance and the message it is trying to send.

Overall: Delightful.

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