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Matilda The Musical (2022) Film Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Matilda The Musical (2022) is based on the stage musical of the same name, which in turn is based on the original novel, Matilda by Roald Dahl written in 1988. This is the second film adaptation of the story, following the 1996 version. The story follows Matilda Wormwood, (Alisha Weir) is a little girl with a vivid imagination often losing herself in books while her parents distract themselves on the TV. She is a quiet observer and is known to be cheeky, and she continues these traits when she begins to attend Crunchem Hall. Ms. Honey (Lashana Lynch) is one of her favourite teachers whom inspire Matilda to create her own fantastical tales, and the story-driven librarian, 

Mrs. Phelps (Sindhu Vee) also plays into Matilda’s adventures while at school. The school feels like an oppressive place to her, as it’s led by villainous Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson). The film follows the daring Matilda taking a stand against Miss Trunchbull and in turn, she learns the value of taking charge of her own destiny and to help others stand up for what is right. 


I felt it was a strong adaptation to the original film and the book, as this film felt it had its own story. Highlighting Alisha Weir’s fantastic performance, she was full of energy and gave new depths to Matilda while still shining through with her own personality, making the character her own. The relationship between Matilda and Ms. Phelps added more depth and vulnerability to the story as well. The character of Ms. Honey was portrayed in an excellent way, as the director did a good job at intertwining her story into the film without it being forced, and the song placed around her backstory gave the scene a more empowering and emotional twist. Though I have not seen the West End performance, and therefore have not heard the full soundtrack to the film prior, I thought the songs performed had catchy lyrics and interlaced well with the rest of the plot.

The songs within the film allowed the children actors to really take reign of the story and again, Weir’s performance in her solo musical number really shined through. I thought there were some elements of the story that previously existed in the other adaptations, such as the chocolate cake eating scene, felt tacked on and an afterthought, as opposed to cooperating with the film itself. In my opinion, this felt as if they tried to keep the essence of the 1996 version, rather than just giving its own merits instead. I found that the climax of the film gave Ms. Honey’s character justice but felt that it mixed two different tones which overall felt like a let down. The ending was cliche and felt the high of the climax of the story made the film fall short. However, another outstanding actress was Emma Thompson’s portrayal of Mrs. Trunchbull. Any time the actress is associated with a film, audiences seem more inclined to watch it, and once again, she did not disappoint. She was unrecognisable as herself, as she portrayed the character so well. I would recommend the film overall, and I would see it again merely based on Thompsons’ and Weir’s brilliant performances. 


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