Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl: review

After the film by and with Danny De Vito, the homonymous novel by Roald Dahl returns to the screens in a musical version directed by Matthew Warchus and an amazing Emma Thompson in the role of Miss Trinciabue. From December 25, 2022 on Netflix.

With his novels for children and adults, Roald Dahl he has given and received so much from the Seventh Art. Many of his exponents have drawn from the pages of the British writer, screenwriter and aviator to give form and substance to films that have left their mark on the big screen, just think of Fantastic Mr. Fox Of Wes Andersonto The BFG – The Great Gentle Giant Of Steven Spielbergto Who’s afraid of witches? Of Nicolas Roeg or to past and future transpositions of The Chocolate Factorythe last of which is expected in 2023 with the Wonka Of Paul King interpreted by Timothee Chalamet and Olivia Colman. But among the numerous works born from Dahl’s pen, another one worthy of being mentioned is Matilda 6 legendary of and with Danny DeVitowhich in 1996 saw the American actor and director grappling with the adaptation of the 1988 book, which also became a very successful theatrical musical in 2010 (winner of 55 awards worldwide, including seven Oliver Awards and five Tony Award) thanks to the libretto by Dennis Kellyto the music and lyrics of Tim Minchin and directed by Matthew Warchus. A success that has never diminished in intensity, fueling over the years following the reruns of the productions at different latitudes, which will have helped to convince Warchus himself to also make a film for the big screen. Here then is that twelve years later, after the first public preview appearance at the BFI London Film Festival and a limited release in UK and US cinemas, Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl made an appearance on Netflix the December 25, 2022.

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl: a cheerful, funny and colorful film adaptation

The Stars and Stripes platform has chosen Christmas day to give its subscribers a gift, making them find a gift under the tree that once unwrapped turned out to be a pleasant surprise, namely a cheerful, fun and colorful film adaptation, which has nothing Christmassy in the story and settings, but which for the subject matter is perfect to remind once again the importance of family and loved ones on days like these. For those unfamiliar with the story, who have not read the novel or seen the 1996 film, a reminder is in order.

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl cinematographe.it

Matilda tells the domestic and school misadventures of little Wormwood, a child with prodigious psychic powers abused by her parents and by the formidable principal of the institute she attends, Miss Trinciabue, who finally finds the desired affection in her new companions and in the loving teacher Jennifer Honey. The search for happiness for the very young protagonist, however, will necessarily have to pass through the fight for his dignity and his freedom between the walls of his home and of Crunchem Hall.

In Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl the musical component becomes the driving force of the narrative, with the notes and songs by Christopher Nightingale and Tim Minchin that blend perfectly with the choreography

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl cinematographe.it

It will be precisely the domestic topography and the large spaces of the elementary school that will act first as a stage and then as a set for this dance and singing version baptized Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl, whose title at the same time restores authorship to its rightful owner and announces the way in which those who have taken charge of it twice in the theater and in the cinema have decided to transpose it. That someone is the aforementioned Matthew Warchus, former author among others of Dangerous deceptions and Pridewho once again got his hands on his compatriot’s novel to make a musical, this time through audiovisuals.

If in De Vito’s film there was a classic transposition, based solely on actions and dialogues in a dramedy key and a pinch of the fantastic, in this version the musical component becomes the driving force of the narration, with the notes and pieces of Christopher Nightingale and Tim Minchin which blend perfectly with the choreography and scenography, as well as with the costumes. A technical ensemble that finds the ideal shoulder in a varied cast where the very good one shines Mara Wilson as Matilda, but above all a fun and amused Emma Thompsonwhich it inherits from its colleague Pam Ferris the role of the Trinciabue.

Emma Thompson is a funny and amused Miss Ox in this new adaptation of the famous novel by Roald Dahl

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl cinematographe.it

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl is a film about the search for love and affection, but also a story about the power of fantasy and imagination as a tool to escape from suffering and injustice. Everything is filtered through the eyes of a little girl who fights the evil of living with courage, genius and special powers. A struggle that Warchus tells not only in words, but with the strength, emotions and involvement that only a dynamic and ironic, grotesque and imaginative dance can restore. And the work in question has a lot to offer in this sense.


Direction – 4


Screenplay – 3.5


Photography – 3.5


Acting – 4


Sound – 3.5


Emotion – 4

Matilda – The Musical by Roald Dahl: review – Cinematographe.it