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Matilda
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Reviews & Ratings for
Matilda More at IMDbPro »

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79 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

Utterly Fantastic

10/10
Author: richard-786 from United States
24 March 2005

This movie is an absolutely wonderful fantasy. I totally loved it.

The dialog is brilliant. The humor is both bold, and subtle. The characters are archetypal.

Matilda perfectly captures what it is like to be an intelligent person, trapped in the body of a child, and surrounded by idiots who control far too much of your life.

The notion that bad people (even adults) deserve to be punished for their evil ways (even by children) is truly subversive. Any child who suffered through the countless typical abuses of unthinking, uncaring, and ignorant parents will truly love this movie. Those same unthinking, uncaring, and ignorant parents will probably hate this movie, unless they are wise enough to see the truth behind the fantasy.

Despite the difficulties Matilda faces, like all good fantasies this movie has a wonderfully happy ending. I wish the same for all.

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73 out of 86 people found the following review useful:

the best "family movie" i've ever seen!

Author: Indy-45 from amsterdam, netherlands
4 September 1999

personally, i hate nauseatingly cute family movies, but this movie is great! I went to see it in the theatre because i had read the book, but i thought that it wouldn't even come close to it. But you know what? I enjoyed this movie more than the novel! I thought it wouldn't be faithful to the book and that it would have turned out to be one of those typical kids' movies, but there's nothing "cute" about mrs. Trunchbull! This has got to be one of my favorite films ever and it IS the best childrens' movie ever made. I definitely recommend this movie to anyone who has his heart in the right place!

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69 out of 87 people found the following review useful:

What a wonderful film - Not Dull for DAHL

10/10
Author: seanbone23 from United Kingdom
27 December 2004

"I'm smart your dumb, I'm big your little, I'm right your wrong and there's nothing you can do about it!" What a catchphrase – I could use that on my brother sometime but anyhow this was an influence on Matilda that made her strong and prepared her for her turbulent time ahead at school, especially with a nasty head teacher 'Miss Trunchbull'. Roald Dahl had written this book to show that a small girl like Matilda can show courage and get herself out of a bad situation, once the film had been made, everything I can remember from the book was alive with a sweet girl to a lazy Mum and Dad (played by Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman). I give this film 10/10.

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49 out of 58 people found the following review useful:

Americanized, but still good

9/10
Author: Inliten from Colorado
12 December 2002

One of my most highly-anticipated films, 'Matilda' is both a treat and a disappointment. The casting of Mara Wilson as the title character is ingenious - the little girl exudes the qualities set forth in Roald Dahl's classic. Unfortunately, the filmmakers apparently could not resist the urge to alter the book, in which Matilda is British and lives in a small village. The movie version, of course, depicts Matilda as American, but what's worse, that she lives in a larger area. This detracts somewhat from the bucolic setting of the book, although not enough to create a starkly different environment.

The casting of Embeth Davidtz as "Miss Honey" was another great choice. While not what I had pictured from the book, Miss Davidtz captures the warmth and energy of the young teacher. Pam Ferris, as the grotesque "Miss Trunchbull," is simply outstanding. Both her demeanor and her looks bring the book's character alive.

'Matilda,' while straying from the book's true form, is still highly enjoyable to watch, especially for those of us who have read the Dahl's masterpiece. Those who enjoy 'Matilda' should also enjoy the movie adaptation of ``The Witches," another Roald Dahl classic.

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32 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A Quirky and Wonderful Slice of Magic & Youth

Author: Rachel Prellwitz from Philadelphia, PA
28 September 2004

Hi hi!

Danny DeVito touches on the viewpoint of children - and their imaginations - in this fantasy come to life: MATILDA.

Who of us as children didn't see the world in the powerful images of youthful, innocent eyes? The horrific Agatha Trunchbull, the kindly librarian, Mrs. Phelps? The annoying big brother 'Mikey', or the wondrous, perfect teacher, Miss Honey? Who of us as children didn't see that some things in life were wrong and wanted to put them right - if only we had magic powers!

Life as a child is fantastic and happy and exciting and scary. And in MATILDA we see all elements of childhood shine through by the intentionally ridiculous, over-the-top performances of Danny DeVito (Matilda's Dad), Rhea Perlman (Mom), and Pam Ferris (Ms. Trunchbull, the principal).

And yes, there is a scary element to the movie: The chase in Ms. Trunchbull's house; the "Chokey"; the spooky scene of Matilda taking back "Lizzie Doll" from Ms. Trunchbull while "haunting" her house. But this is the scariness of youth; shown from a safe distance for even the young audience. And despite the scariness - which kids KNOW exists - Matilda and Miss Honey and all their friends are victorious. Danny DeVito has demonstrated a lesson well-learned from the Disney animated films of yesteryear: The more evil the villain, the more noble and victorious the heroine.

To miss seeing MATILDA is to miss a heart-warming, hand-clapping, magical trip back to your childhood fantasies and ideals.

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38 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

Best Roald Dahl adaptation

9/10
Author: J_Leatherwood from United States
31 May 2005

I believe this film best represents the themes behind Roald Dahl's rather subversive children's literature. It follows the continuity of both "The Witches" and "James and the Giant Peach," casting repulsive Trunchbull into the roles of Grand High Witch and repulsive evil aunt, with a bit of the ogre (especially during the chase in Magnus House).

It's also pretty obvious that J.K. Rowling had read Roald Dahl long before she wrote the first of her Harry Potter books. I find it very odd how few people have noted Roald Dahl's literary influence on the spate of children's fantasy authors today. All the elements for Harry are here, in Matilda, right down to her unpleasant 'Muggle' family -- the Wormwoods -- and a brutish, Dudley-like brother.

And for the record, Mara Wilson does a good job!

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36 out of 44 people found the following review useful:

Something Good Every Now & Then

Author: bbethel66 from Buffalo, NY
19 June 2001

Critics always get away with giving a lot of good movies the bad ratings. Matilda was one of them.

I happened to think Matilda was particularly great.

Mara Wilson did good as the title character, except on some levels she acted more like a kid, while more of an over-sophisticated teen on other levels. The only thing missing in her future is a part as the star character in yet another Alice in Wonderland project.

Pam Ferris seemingly got the part of Ms. Truchbull for an obvious reason. No offense, but she's UGLY!! That best fit Ms. Trunchbull's personality.

Danny DeVito was sort of trying to put a one-man act in the film. He was Matilda's dad, the director, and one of the producers.

The other actors/actresses, Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Brian Levinson, etc. did good as those they were acting as. That's what made this movie so wonderful. The casting was the right price.

Again, the producers decided to wait until the original story writer passed away before making a movie from one of his works. The British story was somehow modified into an American perspective. One thing most people don't understand is how advanced Matilda's content is, even though it was probably intended for kids. That doesn't make it a bad thing; movies have to appeal to everyone in general, not just little kids.

But other than that, Matilda was a real treat.

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27 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

"A wonderful and partly scary adaption of Roald Dahl's classic novel"

Author: simon-trek from Sydney, Australia
12 September 2004

I can't say 'Matilda' was one of my favorite Roald Dahl books as a child but the movie adaption isn't that bad.

Matilda is a very bright and intelligent for a girl of her age. She's quite different from her grouchy and ignorant parents. Danny DeVito was good as Matilda's grouchy father, he often plays very grouchy characters. Mrs Trunchbull is as scary as she is in the book. She's worse than mean. She's a deranged and aggressive monster! She's an absolute monster! She hates children and does nothing except bully and intimidate them.

As for Mrs Jennifer Honey she's the exact opposite of Mrs Trunchbull. She's kindest and sweetest teacher you could find. She's like a mother to her school children and tries to protect them, but unfortunately she to is intimidated by Mrs Trunchbull. So when Matilda develops these telekinetic powers, it is up to her to teach Mrs Trunchbull an ultimate lesson.

I really liked the relationship Matilda has with Mrs Honey. It reminds me of the relationships I had with certain teachers at school. So I would say this movie is both frightening and touching at the same time.

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26 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Enjoyable film!

Author: Ana-33 from London, England
1 April 2000

Matilda is a good film for all ages to enjoy. Embeth Davidtz plays a very good friend to Matilda, Danny Devito was wonderful as the father who didn't care about his daughter, Rhea Perlman was good as the mother who also couldn't care about Matilda, Pam Ferris was brilliant as the scary head teacher and Brian Levinson played a small role but proved a lot. It's about a girl called Matilda who's parents couldn't care less about her and then she realizes she has magical powers. She has lots of adventures with her powers with her teacher and her friends. If you haven't seen it then you simply must!

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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

One of our favorite family movies

9/10
Author: ArizWldcat from United States
4 June 2004

My daughters (ranging from age 9-16) have loved this movie for several years. I am normally a very sensitive person and wasn't disturbed by the macabre tone of the movie. Somehow the movie remains upbeat as Matilda is able to find someone who will love her even though her parents don't appreciate her. Young Mara Wilson shines as Matilda. Each time I watch this I am amazed at her talents at such a young age. I haven't heard of her making any films lately...I hope this is by her own choice.

In addition, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Pam Ferris, and Embeth Davidtz all were wonderful in their roles as Matilda's parents, principal and teacher, respectively. I have read the book, and yes, it is different as far as the setting goes, but in my opinion, they've kept the main ideas quite intact. Movies are almost never the same as books, because by definition they can't be. We have enjoyed watching this as a family for at least 5 years now and will continue to. I just wish they'd release a special edition DVD with COMMENTARY. I'd love to hear from Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman about the making of this someday classic movie. At least it is in my family. My criterion for a classic? We are constantly quoting its script to each other.

UPDATE: They DID release a special edition. It does have some fine extras, but I have to wonder why in the world didn't they offer a widescreen edition? That is a big disappointment.

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