Home > Movie Review > Movie Review: Matilda (1996)

Movie Review: Matilda (1996)

Matilda has the unfortunate luck of being a smart kid born to not only stupid, but annoying and neglectful, parents.  They leave her alone for extended periods of time at a young age, time she fills by reading books from the public library.  When she’s six and a half, her father finally sends her to a private school with a bully of a principal.  However, her sweet teacher tells her she’s special, and Matilda’s mind stretches to be even more powerful than she ever thought it could.

This movie sounds serious, but it’s actually quite funny. Danny DeVito directs and acts–both as the narrator and Matilda’s father.  Rhea Perlman, known like DeVito for comedic roles, plays Matilda’s mother. Matilda’s telekinetic abilities are played mainly for laughs, and she tends to use them in a child-like manner.

Matilda’s parents aren’t mean to their daughter on purpose; they just don’t understand her. They think it’s fun to watch terrible game shows on tv and are offended when she says she’d rather read Moby Dick. Matilda doesn’t hate them, but she also knows she doesn’t belong.

The message of the movie really is that family is what you make of it, not what you’re born into. Matilda could have dumbed herself down to fit in with her family, but she doesn’t. Her parents could have insisted that she belongs with them, but they don’t.  Sometimes people are born into the right family; sometimes they’re not, and there’s nothing wrong with fixing that.

If you want some giggles and a heartwarming message that doesn’t have a love interest for once, give Matilda a shot.

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4 out of 5 stars

Source: Netflix

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  1. January 20, 2010 at 4:56 am

    This used to be the ultimate film when I was a little girl, especially as I loved Roald Dahl!

    • January 20, 2010 at 10:51 am

      It’s a whole new experience for me, as I wasn’t allowed to read Roald Dahl or watch movies based on his works (except for Willy Wonka that is).

  2. January 20, 2010 at 5:13 am

    I loved this book and all I remember about the movie was annoyance that they Americanized everything. I didn’t see why they’d done it and it irritated me that they thought kids were stupid enough to not relate to a film just because it was set in England.

    • January 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Hah! You must not be pleased by the new Torchwood news then, eh?

      • January 20, 2010 at 11:07 am

        I don’t watch Torchwood, so I don’t know! Keith isn’t a fan of Doctor Who + spinoffs and I never really had cause to start watching on my own.

  3. kimberlyloomis
    January 20, 2010 at 7:27 am

    I, too, found this movie to be wonderfully cute and warming. Seeing Danny DeVito play the horrible father I so vilified in my mind as a child- I absolutely adored it. Thanks for the review and, yes, it’s nice to see a movie that doesn’t focus on adult relationships (or adult-type relationships).

    Thanks for the review!

    • January 20, 2010 at 10:52 am

      You’re welcome! Thank you for taking the time to read it. Glad to have brought back mostly happy childhood memories for some folks.

  4. January 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

    I absolutely love this movie and this book. Such awesome childhood memories — now I want to go home and watch it!

    • January 20, 2010 at 11:15 am

      It is on Netflix Instant if you’re a subscriber!

  5. January 20, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Meghan–Apparently they’re making an American version of Torchwood, just like they did of The Office.

  6. January 20, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Oh man, fantastic movie! Although, imho, nowhere near as good as the mind-blowing book.

    • January 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      Oh of course not! When is the movie *ever* as good as the book? 😛

  7. November 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    i always look for a good movie review first before watching new movies ::

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