‘Matilda the Musical’ brings angry youth

2022/12/30

This musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel is a mix of sweet and sour to make you laugh out loud.

Bitterness never tasted so sweet as in Roald Dahl’s “Matilda the Musical”. In this film, Roald Dahl was 72 years old when he published his story: of a genius telekinetic girl taking revenge on a school principal who threw children out of a classroom window. The novel was Dahl’s fair return for his own education at a British boarding school, where instructors freely spanked students and put slivers of soap in boys’ mouths at night if and by chance they snored.

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Matilda the Musical

Her writing forever burned with a sense of youth, of injustice, and among the many smart decisions director Matthew Warchus and writer Dennis Kelly made in adapting “Matilda” for the stage, and now on screen is reimagining its title character. , interpreted with empathy. Alisha Weir, as a sensational child full of stories aimed at adults who try to step on her intelligence. Weir, just 11 years old filming the movie, narrows her blue eyes and sings, “Sometimes you gotta be a little naughty,” you believe she’s capable of winning over anyone who blocks her path.

Matilda’s parents (Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough) are goofs and cheaters. Her school motto is “Bambinatum est magitum”-“Children are worms”-and her headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull (an Emma Thompson gone bankrupt), is like…… almost a monster. The only moments of kindness come from a teacher (Lashana Lynch), who is too shaky to face her boss, and an itinerant librarian (Sindhu Vee).

Songs

The songs, which are written by Tim Minchin, are beautiful and witty, and Warchus directs them in a clip. The seven-time Tony nominee, who also serves as artistic director at the Old Vic theater in London, is delighted to be able to send his director of photography, Tat Radcliffe, to do the job.

Matilda the Musical

verdict

For a film that revels so much in malevolence – Matilda is called a “brat”, “a disgusting worm” and in its first three minutes on the small screen – it also includes scenes of genuine beauty: a silent number set above the clouds, a demonstration from sequined jazz talent in support of a tortured classmate, and even a soft-focus fantasy sequence in which Trunchbull envisions a better life for herself. The children are gone, a herd of white horses gallops onto the scene, and for a moment our villain is no longer the petty tyrant but a woman who wishes she could rejoice.

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‘Matilda the Musical’ trivia

1. The photo of Miss Honey’s father, Magnus, is actually a portrait of Roald Dahl.

2. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman who play Matilda’s parents are married in real life with three children. The couple became very close with Mara Wilson, who plays Matilda, during production they used to take her home and take care of her while her father worked and her mother was in the hospital receiving cancer treatments.

Matilda the Musical

3. Mara Wilson’s mother, Suzie Shapiro Wilson, had breast cancer during the filming of the film, which was dedicated to her memory. For a while Mara believed that her mother would never be able to see the completed film. Later, Danny DeVito recounted that he had shown her an unfinished version shortly before she passed away.

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