In a twisted world without child protection services and despicable parenting, Matilda is desperate to get revenge on everyone who has wronged her. Well, maybe the story is not that dark. “Matilda” is yet another movie based off a Roald Dahl children’s book. It is a lighthearted book about a girl with a passion for books who is neglected by her parents and abused by her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull at school. The only person to truly recognize Matilda’s special gifts is her teacher, Miss Honey. The film is a bit darker than the book but does a great job of capturing the story.
If there is one thing that the film succeeds at is that it completely captures how intolerable Matilda’s parents and Miss Trunchbull are. The performances are rage-inducing and show how innocent Matilda is. The camera angles are dizzying at times, but give the film a surreal quality, making everything feel like an exaggeration. Every character is over-the-top, especially Miss Trunchbull who tosses a girl by her hair, nearly hits people with darts and even locks Matilda in the “Chokey”, a closet surrounded in nails. At times it is easy to wonder how much further the torture could have gone if the primary audience was not children.
On the opposite side of the spectrum are Matilda and Miss Honey who are the only characters that provide hope. Hope that things can change and that something positive can happen in a truly negative world.