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Latest Home Video

Dec 03, 2013

MPAA Rating:


Run Time:



Danny DeVito


Mara Wilson

Danny DeVito

Rhea Perlman


1996 Sony Pictures

Still shot from the movie: Matilda.

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Reviewed by

Overall C
Run Time98

Making the Grades

Matilda (Mara Wilson) is a frustrated little girl. Her parents, played by Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, began neglecting her early in life (starting by tossing baby Matilda into the back of their car like a suitcase while driving home from the hospital). As she grows through her first six years, she discovers that reading provides an escape from her nasty parents, and the educational pastime quickly allows her to become smarter than anyone else in her family.

Her formal education begins at Crunchem Hall, a horrible school with a miserable principal named Trunchbul (Pam Ferris). Prisoner of war camps have more joy! The grey building provides the ultimate exaggeration of the school experience. Principal Trunchbul dislikes one girl's pigtails, so she picks the child up by the hair and throws her like an Olympic hammer. The girl lands nicely, sliding through a field of flowers well beyond the school playground. Another obese child is accused of eating Trunchbul's chocolate cake, and is force-fed a huge cake in front of a school assembly.

The movie is touted as family fun, but parents will want to be careful about showing Matilda to the under eight crowd. In the end, everyone goes home happy and Matilda bonds with the sweet Miss Honey (Embeth Davidtz), a loving teacher at the school. But along the way the major problems faced are only solved when Matilda uses her "special" powers, resulting in many violent portrayls.

There is a fine line between sarcasm and depicted reality, and I think it is difficult for children to differentiate between the two. Maybe DeVito's hope as a director is that any child will think they are better off than Matilda. Still, just as many children may see their own situation as hopeless because they don't have Matilda's telekinetic gifts. While parents will need to be the ultimate judge of the appropriateness of this movie for their children, I personally feel we have had enough scripts featuring genius kids, dumb parents, and inept teachers.

Discussion Ideas After The Movie

Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Matilda.

This movie is based on a novel by Roald Dahl.

Canadian Movie Ratings

Not Rated
AB Not Rated
MB Not Rated
ON Not Rated
QC Not Rated
Not Rated

Canadian Home Video Rating: PG

Watch @ Home

Details on home video releases of Matilda...

Home Video Notes: Matilda

Release Date: 3 December 2013

Matildareleases to home video (Blu-ray) with the following extras:

-New featurette filmed exclusively for the Blu-ray release:

- Afternoon Tea, A Very Magical Matilda Reunion

Four previously released featurettes:

- Matilda’s Movie Magic!

- A Children’s Guide to Good Manners

- Escape to the Library

- My Movie About Making Matilda by Mara Wilson

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Pam Bruno says: Jun. 10, 2014

I agree with the reviewer, except if anything, he didn’t go far enough in saying how horrible this movie is. The “headmistress” is not just mean. She assaults kids, drops them on their heads, and locks them in small rooms with steam and exposed nails till they choke. Other characters believe she murdered her brother. She keeps students 5 hours after school just to torment them, and the parents don’t seem to object to any of this. And of course, she’s hideously ugly, because in kids’ movies, ugly=evil. And pretty people are all good. And Matilda’s escape from all this is the fact that she has telekinetic powers. So how is this supposed to provide hope to unfortunate children who are at the mercy of bad adults? (Yes, the movie also points out that she likes to read, and her intelligence proves helpful, but that one redeeming point does not make up for the awfulness of this movie.)

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