Bad Boys for Life
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It's Carrie for children in this adorable family comedy!
Danny DeVito's children's comedy classic Matilda (1996) remains a childhood favorite of mine and a wonderful family movie for any generation. Writers Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord tenderly adapt Roald Dahl's kids book alongside Danny DeVito's unique style and creative direction. Their refreshing writing is hilarious and witty. Matilda feels like a real neglected child and all the cruel adults are unbelievably mean with the lone exception of a kind teacher. After Swicord's peerless writing for Gillian Armstrong's 1994 Little Women, I believe her words can really endear you to her girls. She understands a young woman's mind.
Mara Wilson gives one of the all time great child actress performances as Matilda Wormwood. She is so naturalistic and sad looking. You believe this kid is smart and dejected. Her eyes and facial acting convey an inner loneliness that made Wilson the perfect Matilda. She's relatable and magically charming. Danny DeVito's acting is superb as he channels a hothead Joe Pesci type with a used cars salesman into Matilda's cruel father Harry Wormwood. Rhea Perlman is funny as the airhead flirt that is Matilda's mother Zinnia Wormwood.
Embeth Davidtz is lovely as the caring, nurturing, and intelligent teacher to Matilda named Miss Jenny Honey. She is remarkably charismatic and kind. You are immediately drawn to her character once she's introduced. Likewise, Kiami Davael is nice as Matilda's first friend Lavender.
I must mention the secondary villain aside from Danny DeVito's negligent father figure. Pam Ferris is a whirlwind of cruel energy as Matilda's vicious principal: Agatha Trunchbull. Her screaming disdain for children is genuinely frightening and absolutely entertaining. The way the sound department creates heavy thuds for her stamping around as she yells out when she charges is certainly frightening imagery for kids. She eats up the scenery with reckless abandon.
Paul Reubens aka Pee-wee Herman even has a cameo role as FBI Agent Bob alongside Tracey Walter as FBI Agent Bill.
DeVito's heartfelt tone and playful narration give Matilda's sweet message of being true to yourself and kind to others a resonant warmth. Matilda certainly has that 1990's authentic feel to it. Like The Pagemaster, Matilda wants you to read books, visit libraries, attend school, make friends, play together, and pursue higher education. It's quite wholesome really. I've always loved Matilda ever since I was a kid, but it holds up as an adult too!
I highly recommend Matilda for all families for laughs, tears, and thrills from Danny DeVito at his most sincere.
DeVito directed Matilda as if it's an avante-garde arthouse film with odd and resplendent choices everywhere. DeVito crafts each scene like a child's fantasy of how they see their parents and teachers. DeVito chooses to place the camera at Matilda's eye level always, so that we as the audience see her perspective better. Danny DeVito's direction is both cute and scary as the scene requires. Stefan Czapsky's cinematography is neat with Dutch angles and intriguingly framed shots of many faces together and fun extreme close-ups for comedic effect. Matilda is seriously well shot and directed with effortless pacing.
Tight editing from editors Lynzee Klingman and Brent White keep Matilda's story moving right along into a succinct 98 minutes. David Newman's score is gentle and dreamy with a warm 90's tone and playful attitude to his melodies. He fits Matilda's backdrop aptly. Thurston Harris' "Little Bitty Pretty One" is a cute choice for Matilda's theme song as she learns her telekinetic powers for the soundtrack. It's uplifting and playful just like the girl and movie. I really love Rusted Foot's "Send Me on My Way" for the playful pancake scene and the finale's closing.
In all, Matilda is a charming and clever little movie with excellent and innovative filmmaking from Danny DeVito. With Mara Wilson's lead actress performance, Matilda remains one of the very best children's films for any family to enjoy together.
While it can be a little too silly even for children, Matilda is a charming family film that remains a favorite among classics.
This movie is plain great and I think it's something that everyone can agree is great. It captures the same weirdness of the Cat in the Hat movie remake but pulls it off fantastically. It's awfully cheeky, much like the book itself, and makes for a good movie adaption of Roald Dahl's entire personality. It strays away from the source material a bit, but still honours Dahl's legacy with great kindness.
This movie is really good. The little girl had a sad childhood with her family. They never showed her love since birth. It's really sad because how they treated her and disrespected her. But later she learned about her intelligence and powers. This is a funny movie to watch with your family or friends.
Fun funny and outrageous. Loved it.
A classic. I can't find a flaw.
Great movie effects story actors actrises cool magical story with comedy and Danny Devito LOL 👍👍
My Daughter loves this movie and I feel its made her appreciate her school and the people around her more.
Danny DeVito did a very good job Directing and acting. Putting a darker yet humorous tone into this 90's movie.
An odd, silly, and charming adaptation. This film has a magic touch to it and I think all kids will be invested in this film. You also feel for the characters in hard times and this adaptation is very good at it.