Movie Review: Matilda (1996)
Matilda has the unfortunate luck of being a smart kid born to not only stupid, but annoying and neglectful, parents. They leave her alone for extended periods of time at a young age, time she fills by reading books from the public library. When she’s six and a half, her father finally sends her to a private school with a bully of a principal. However, her sweet teacher tells her she’s special, and Matilda’s mind stretches to be even more powerful than she ever thought it could.
This movie sounds serious, but it’s actually quite funny. Danny DeVito directs and acts–both as the narrator and Matilda’s father. Rhea Perlman, known like DeVito for comedic roles, plays Matilda’s mother. Matilda’s telekinetic abilities are played mainly for laughs, and she tends to use them in a child-like manner.
Matilda’s parents aren’t mean to their daughter on purpose; they just don’t understand her. They think it’s fun to watch terrible game shows on tv, and are offended when she says she’d rather read Moby Dick. Matilda doesn’t hate them, but she also knows she doesn’t belong.
The message of the movie really is that family is what you make of it, not what you’re born into. Matilda could have dumbed herself down to fit in with her family, but she doesn’t. Her parents could have insisted that she belongs with them, but they don’t. Sometimes people are born into the right family; sometimes they’re not, and there’s nothing wrong with fixing that.
If you want some giggles and a heartwarming message that doesn’t have a love interest for once, give Matilda a shot.
4 out of 5 stars