Matildaposter

Matlida, the movie
Based on the book by Roald Dahl
Rated: PG
Commonsensemedia.org rating: 8+ for cartoonish violence

This Roald Dahl adaption came out in 1996. Matilda Wormwood is a product of witches, but adopted into a family of low intelligence. The father is a crook who sells cars, the brother is an oaf, and the mother leaves Matilda alone all day to play Bingo. At age 4, Matilda walks ten blocks in search of a library. She does this for the next two and a half years until she is enrolled in a school called Crunchem Hall run by bully Agatha Trunchbull, who is an ex-Olympic hammer thrower. All the adults are comically low brained bullies, except for her teacher, Miss Honey, who happens to be the principal’s niece and who raised her when her father died. Matilda learns that her sweet teacher ran away to escape her aunt Agatha and left all of her belongings in her aunt’s house. Matilda is determined to rescue her teacher’s doll. In the meantime, Matilda learns that she has telekinetic powers. She will use them to terrorize Principal Trunchbull, thwart the FBI’s search of her father, and save the day for Miss Honey.

Matilda, the book, was published in 1988 while I was in college, so I missed reading it as a child. The movie stays true to Dahl’s style, telling the story in the view of the child. The adults are all outrageously self-centered and comical, with the exception of Miss Honey, of course. There is much cartoonish violence such as falling down a cluttered staircase and chasing from an outraged principal. Also, when students are being punished, they are put in the “chokey,” which is a small closet full of knives and broken glass. I agree with commensensemedia.org’s rating of 8+. Pre-school age children might find it confusing and too violent.

Devito, D. (Producer), & Devito, D. (Director). (1996). Matilda. [Motion picture]. USA: TriStar.

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