By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

In an exaggeratedly colorful maternity ward that screams “welcome to the eighties”, dozens of mother and fathers coo over their newborns, singing joyously about how their little one is the cutest. Amidst all the happy faces there is a lone sour-faced pregnant woman who does not want to have a baby; Andrea Riseborough is hilarious as the caricature-like Mrs Wormwood, who becomes a negligent mother to the titular protagonist in 2022 Netflix movie ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’.

Directed by Matthew Warchus, the musical is quite faithful to the original children’s classic and follows Matilda’s adventures in her new school, where she meets kind teacher Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch), who is quite unlike her horrible biological parents or the terrifyingly villainous Principal Agatha Trunchbull (Emma Thompson).

It took me a while to warm up to the mousy Alisha Weir as Matilda, while her squeaky singing voice isn’t exactly music to the ears, she is delightfully spirited as the rebellious child-genius, who resorts to deviant tricks to annoy her nasty parents and quickly wins over her new classmates by standing up to the biggest school bully – Principal Trunchbull. Villains can make or break a movie and Emma Thompson does a splendid job of portraying the spiteful Trunchbull who detests kids and considers them maggots. It makes you think she would have made a fantastic Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series, easily one of the most hated villains from a children’s book.

The music by Christopher Nightingale and Tim Minchin was foot-tapping, especially the songs that unfold at school, with a whole entourage of students excitedly singing through the campus. However, fewer songs and a crisper runtime would’ve benefited the film, with an almost two-hour long runtime, the makers overestimate the thinning attention spans of both adult & younger viewers for a children’s tale like this.

Dahl’s decision to portray Matilda’s parents as heinous is the most enduring aspect of the classic. While there is a classic ‘evil step-relative’ trope, there is also the contradictory sub-plot about a couple deliberately mistreating their biological child for no good reason. The wicked Wormwoods are a lot more relatable as the moronically mean parents than most sacrificing/idealistic moms and dads we see on screens. Overall, Matilda was an entertaining children’s movie with lavish cinematography and an enjoyable musical score.

It’s a 7/10 from me.

Subscribe to our Podcast show by the same name on YouTube.

Listen to – Twelve 2022 Holiday Releases To Stream