Kids movies

What Makes the 1996 Film One of the Best Kids’ Movies of All Time

The 1996 movie Matilda is based on the 1988 children’s book of the same name by Roald Dahl and is about the titular five-year-old girl with powers of intelligence and telekinesis. Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) lives with her parents and brother, all of whom misunderstand and abuse her. She is the eccentric of her family, although she is the only normal one. Her father, Harry (Danny DeVito), is a crooked car salesman, and after selling a car to Miss Agatha Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), who is the principal of Crunchem Hall Elementary School, he agrees to send his daughter at school. There, Matilda meets and befriends Lavender, a classmate, and Miss Honey, her teacher.


Together, with the help of her new friends, Matilda overthrows the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull and escapes her family’s abuse. Matilda is a classic tale about how children can overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams. Mara Wilson is absolutely adorable as Matilda and brings a sense of pride and self-worth to her role without coming across as arrogant or obnoxious. Her sidekick and soon-to-be best friend, Lavender (Kiami Davael), brings humor, joy, and diversity to the film without falling into the normal person of color stereotypes.

Finally, Miss Honey shows that it is possible to be a single mother and have a career. In addition to the movie, Matilda also became a musical with success on both Broadway and the West End, although the tone of the musical was very different from the tone of the 1996 film. However, both the film and the musical promote several positive values , including bravery, independence, loyalty and the importance of friendship. That’s what makes Matilda the perfect story for children.

You are never too young to defend yourself or your friends

The young cast of Matilda with Miss Honey in the background.
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Although Matilda is small, she proves throughout the film that you are never too young or too small to defend yourself or your friends. First, Matilda defends herself against her toxic and obnoxious family. This is impressive in itself because many parents teach their children to be obedient and respectful. Although Matilda doesn’t obey her parents, she is still respectful and doesn’t mirror the bad behavior they showed her. Additionally, she gives Miss Honey the courage to stand up to her aunt, Miss Trunchbull, and reclaim her home.

Related: Matilda: The Musical hits UK cinemas in December ahead of Netflix’s global release

Along with cheering on Miss Honey, Matilda also cheers on Bruce. His small act of encouragement rallies the whole school to support Bruce in his quest to finish every bite of his giant chocolate cake. In fact, every time Miss Trunchbull rains terror on the school, the students all support each other and in the end, their school becomes a happy place where the kids never want to leave when Miss Honey takes over. It shows a world where anything is possible when you have the courage to stand up for yourself and stand up for what is right.

Matilda is a strong and independent female protagonist

Sony Pictures Entertainment

Matilda may only be five at the start of the film, but she proves that age doesn’t matter because she’s fiercely independent. She looks up the address of the library on her own, then walks the ten blocks every day, back and forth, until the librarian tells her she can get her own library card. During those early years with no one to care for her, the “books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone,” as the book and Roald Dahl’s narration puts it. .

Sony Pictures Entertainment

It can sometimes be difficult to get children interested in reading and learning. Therefore, movies that make these things cool and fun are always great for kids. Matilda promotes reading and education. First of all, she is an avid reader, spending much of her free time with books. Additionally, Miss Honey also reads, unlike horrific or evil characters. It promotes that reading is a good thing which helps to make you smart and brave.

Additionally, the film portrays education in a positive light. One of the most important scenes in the film is when Miss Honey goes to Matilda’s house to discuss her upbringing and her excellent performance at school. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood laugh and scoff at Miss Honey’s idea of ​​preparing Matilda for the start of college. Miss Honey defends education by describing the importance of educated people, such as doctors or lawyers. In the end, both Matilda and Miss Honey get their happy endings, reinforcing the idea that good things happen to highly educated people.

There’s no unnecessary love interest

Everyone loves a good romance, and Hollywood loves to please us. However, sometimes a romance isn’t necessary for the plot, and too often it feels like it’s in the movie to just tick the box and be present. In the case of Matildathere’s no romantic interest in her, and she doesn’t need it.

Related: These Are Movies With Great Performances From Young Actors

While the film is full of platonic love between Matilda and Miss Honey, and her friends, Matilda is a strong, independent young girl who doesn’t need the love of a boy to elevate herself. Instead, she’s perfectly happy to have family and friends. Similarly, Miss Honey has no love interest, as she learns to be confident and self-satisfied with Matilda’s love and support. This gives children a positive message that they are self-sufficient.

Matilda gets her fairy tale ending

Sony Pictures Entertainment

After being abused by her parents, her brother, and the mean school principal Miss Trunchbull, Matilda gets the happy ending she deserves. After successfully scaring away Miss Trunchbull, who drives off in her car never to be seen or heard from again, Matilda is adopted by the kind and compassionate Miss Honey.

From there, Matilda’s former family flees to Guam to avoid the FBI and leaves Matilda in Miss Honey’s care. Miss Honey becomes the headmistress of the school, and Matilda and Miss Honey live a happy life together. As we hear at the end of the film, “The happiest part of the story is that Matilda and Miss Honey each got what they had always wanted: a loving family.” Sometimes just a beautiful family can be a fairy tale ending.


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