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Movie Review: Matilda

Matilda is one of the many popular works by the British writer Roald Dahl, who has also penned down books like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, etc.

Matilda Wormwood is a five-year-old gifted child with telekinetic powers (manipulating objects at will). She lives with her unintelligent and unimaginative parents in a cottage in Buckinghamshire. She is often misunderstood and ill-treated by her parents who fail to understand her exceptional talents, so much so that when she asks them for books to read, she is told to watch the television instead. She comes up with ingenious ways to get back at them by playing pranks like gluing her father’s hat onto his head, applying peroxide in her father’s hair dye and so on.

As Matilda begins school, she befriends her teacher, Ms. Jennifer Honey, who is surprised by Matilda’s intellectual abilities. Ms. Honey tries to get Matilda to join a higher class, but is refused by the tyrannical headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull. The headmistress abuses children in school and is often seen hurling them through the window and punishing them in every way possible.

Matilda uses her supernatural powers to get back at Ms. Trunchbull for ill-treating Ms. Honey and the other students in the class. Ms. Trunchbull is eventually forced to leave the region.

The book was also made into a movie in 1996, starring then child artist Mara Wilson as Matilda Wormwood, Embeth Davidtz as Ms. Honey and Danny DeVito as Harry Wormwood. Directed by Danny DeVito and produced by Lucy Dahl, the movie was nominated for many categories and awards, and won the Oulu International Children's Film Festival Starboy Award.

With a strong message that ‘anything is possible’, this heart-warming tale is all about finding the joy to learn, and is apt for both teachers and students.


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