A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's estate. Her uncle is very distant due to the ... See full summary »
10-year-old Fiona is sent to live with her grandparents in a small fishing village in Donegal, Ireland. She soon learns the local legend that an ancestor of hers married a Selkie - a seal ... See full summary »
A little girl discovers dreams do come true if you really believe. Six-year-old Susan has doubts about childhood's most enduring miracle - Santa Claus. Her mother told her the "secret" ... See full summary »
A young British girl born and raised in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake. She is returned to England to live at her uncle's estate. Her uncle is very distant due to the loss of his wife ten years before. Neglected once again, she begins exploring the estate and discovers a garden that has been locked and neglected. Aided by one of the servants' brothers, she begins restoring the garden, and eventually discovers some other secrets of the manor. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
In Burnett's book The Secret Garden it is Mary's father who is related to Colin's mother. Also they were not twins. See more »
When Mary first meets Colin, as she enters his room, she is holding a oil lamp. The oil lamp, however, has a light bulb, not a wick and flame. See more »
My name is Mary Lennox. I was born in India. It was hot, and strange, and lonely in India. I didn't like it. Nobody by my servant, my ayah, looked after me. My parents didn't want me. My mother cared only to go to parties. And my father was busy with his military duties. I was never allowed to go to the parties. I watched them from my mother's bedroom window. I was angry, but I never cried. I didn't know how to cry.
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Has the rare quality of understanding and enhancing its source
The Secret Garden is a rare treat where in the screenwriter and director actually understand their source, The Secret Garden by Frances Hogsden Burnett, and make a translation to the screen that not only captures the essence of the book but enhances the story as well. Too often directors spoil the story with their own self-interested spin (Little Big Man and Chocolat come immediately to mind)but here is a jewel that leaves the viewer saying "That was as good as the book." A genuine triumph.
The cast is outstanding, the children in particular, Kate Maberly as Mary Lennox above all. Even to the most minor extra everyone brings a smooth and compelling reality to the story.
However, the real star is director Agnieszka Holland. Against a challenging climate ( a rainy location) she manages to create a movie with a touching commentary on how children can literally change the world. Her insightful grasp of the themes of isolation, growth and rejuvenation, the need for a balance between nurture and allowable risk are all managed through the controlling metaphor of a garden. The artful rendering of these literary themes are what many directors apparently find most challenging ( I'm looking at you Arthur Penn)and generally blissfully ignore them compensating by glib insertions, extra action or clumsy sentiment. Not so here.
Not only is her focus exemplary but the photography is amazing. The interplay of light and dark, the time elapse photos of clouds rolling and flowers emerging all set to beautiful music captivate the viewer. The rainy weather was not shunned but used to fullest effect. I can only imagine the discipline it must have taken to wait for the sun to peep out from the clouds and then roll film hoping that the cast can pull off the shot before the light changed and a second take became a long wait. Fortunately all are up to the task and the film, the final scene in particular, results in a brilliant piece of motion picture art.
The 1993 version of The Secret Garden is a must for every family film collection, one the parents and kids can enjoy for its sophistication or simply for the great way in which this timeless classic is retold.
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