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Matilda The Musical - A Netflix Movie Review

A fine cast was picked for 'Matilda The Musical'.

By Marielle SabbagPublished 3 months ago 3 min read

Even if you’re little you can do a lot.

Based on the novel by Roald Dahl and adapted from the stage musical, Matilda The Musical is a 2022 Netflix film. Neglected by her parents, Matilda finds solace in books. Starting school, Matilda makes new friends but also faces the cruel headmistress, Miss Trunchbull.

When I was in high school, I went to see Matilda The Musical when it first started playing on Broadway. It is an experience that I will never forget. I was excited to view Netflix’s musical adaptation of Matilda but I can’t help but feel underwhelmed by the final product. The film didn’t focus on crucial elements of the story.

A fine cast was picked for Matilda The Musical. The characters weren’t fully developed enough. With the film’s setup, audiences are expected to know the characters along with backstories based on Roald Dahl’s story and the 1996 film. For Netflix’s musical adaptation, the characters lacked personalities staring blankly at the camera.

Alisha Weir did a great job as Matilda. My favorite song in the whole film was ‘Naughty’. Weir deserved stronger direction for her interpretation. Matilda is not developed enough. Matilda longs to be understood by the world. Her love to read and her telekinesis powers are not fully touched upon.

The role that I was looking forward to seeing the most was Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull. As always, Thompson has a ball in any role. Conveying the right intimidating attitude, the character was too underwritten. She got two song numbers but neither explored her character.

That’s what happens to most of the characters. Matilda’s parents (Stephan Graham and Andrea Riseborough) are neglectful but they’re not given any personality. And why was Matilda’s brother written out? He’s important in the dynamic of the Wormwood family. They deserved more screen time to accommodate their character development in the climax.

Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) and Matilda have the most important friendship in the story. They’re supposed to connect to each other with the similarities in their stories. The relationship was rushed. Lynch was fantastic in the role of generating a positive influence on teachers. Miss Honey’s story is effective.

A talented ensemble of children lights up the screen with energetic and sharp dance numbers. A lot of time was spent on these dance numbers. Everyone is having fun in them. This makes me think that more time was spent on the dance numbers over the progression of the story.

Due to its Broadway atmosphere, the camera angles cut too quickly from the main action. The energy from the kid ensemble was incredible but aside none of them felt present. When any of the characters were staring offscreen at someone or an object, it bothered me how they had blank stares.

The atmosphere is bright, using an extreme amount of coloring in the backgrounds and the costumes. CGI is noticeable in scenes that take place on the rooftop.

I may be being a little harsh on Netflix’s Matilda but it is meant for the stage after all. It works when it’s presented on the stage with all the fun musical numbers. Matthew Warchus did a good job with the film’s layout but he should have instilled more of his direction into the magic and moral of what Matilda is about.

You should still check out Matilda The Musical on Netflix. Before having young kids watch it, have them read the Roald Dahl book and watch the 1996 film to have an idea for the story. Matilda The Musical is a film for the entire family to enjoy.

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About the Creator

Marielle Sabbag

Writing has been my passion since I was 11 years old. I love creating stories from fiction, poetry, fanfiction. I enjoy writing movie reviews. I would love to become a creative writing teacher and leave the world inspiring minds.

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