A show stopping musical was released at the end of 2022
The story of a 5 and a half year old genius, Matilda, has swept the globe more than once since the book’s first publication in 1988.
Matilda is a girl that has all odds stacked against her at home and in school. Despite the abuse and neglect she experiences daily, she rises up and takes her power back through kindness, courage, and telekinesis. She inspires others to change their stories and take hold of their own destiny.
Netflix released a brilliant adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical Matilda on Christmas day.
Before I dive into the review, let’s go back in time.
Where did Matilda’s story start?
Matilda’s story begins as a baby, born to parents who are hateful, self centered, and completely idiotic. Right away it becomes apparent that they love bingo, eating TV dinners and selling used cars more than they love their daughter. Life only becomes bearable for Matilda when she teaches herself to read at a young age. With that, she discovers an escape in the pages of hundreds of library books. When it’s time to attend school, Matilda is thrilled to explore different subjects and meet kind, new people. Quickly Matilda’s new beginning is squashed by a monstrous principle that tortures every child in school, including her.
Matilda deals with her turbulent life with astonishing amounts of intelligence, boundless patience, and a quirky liking for revenge.
Her brilliance led her to the gift of telekinesis and helped her reclaim her life.
In the early 90’s Matilda made it to the big screen
Sony Pictures released Matilda to theaters in 1996. It received a lot of praise for its consistency with Dohl’s book and brilliant direction by Danny Diveto. The writers and producers did a great job with costumes, special effects, and of course, the casting.
Although the film was deemed as financially unsuccessful, it was a cinematic staple for many millennials and has become a classic.
She was such a legend that her story was turned into a musical
The West End theater in London, UK launched Matilda the Musical in 2011. The production gained instant box-office popularity and won seven 2012 Olivier awards. At the time, this was the most awards a single show had ever won. The production toured around the world visiting New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, the Philippines, Korea, and more.
Since the book, movie, and musical were so successful, why not make a musical movie?!
Nine years after Matilda sang and danced across stages, it was announced that the original screenplay and song writers were to team up with Working Title Films and make a movie. Unfortunately due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was put on hold until May 2021. But in only a year and a half they created a masterpiece. Tristar Pictures released the movie throughout the UK and United States at the end of 2022. You can stream Matilda the Musical on Netflix today.
Here are my thoughts:
Although I had never seen Matilda the Musical on stage, I absolutely loved this production. They brought the story to life without sacrificing the spirit and brilliance of the author. As a 90’s kid, my hopes were high and I wondered if the cast could actually pull it off, especially Miss Trunchbull.
Overall, movie felt fluid and it moved from scene to song without a hitch. It kept me engaged and entertained.
I was very impressed by the choreography and songs. The kids that sang and danced through the school hallways knocked my socks off. “Revolting” was my favorite song by far.
And best of all, the producers did a great job with casting.
Matilda, played by Alisha Weir, was charismatic, brave, and authentic. Her character truly flourished as a human regardless of the odds stacked against her. Now that Weir as broken the ice in the industry, I look forward to seeing her in future rolls.
Let me tell you, Emma Thompson nailed it as Miss Trunchbull. This hammer throwing champion was absolutely terrifying. She threw a girl out of the school yard by her pigtails, called every student a maggot, and made all of us fear the Chokey. She may just show up in my nightmares one of these days.
Miss Honey, played by Lashana Lynch, was as sweet as ever. Her acting made her character radiated kindness and love in every scene.
This musical, fantasy, family-drama is a movie to remember. I’m sure it will keep Matilda’s story alive for many generations.
Check it out now on Netflix