Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Character Love: 'Matilda'

Being created as a character out of the mind of Roald Dahl would be excellent, but then also, ridiculously terrifying. Any of the children out of his imagination, that somehow make it to the end of a book unscathed, can deem themselves the lucky ones.

Kids in his stories are continuously faced with danger: from being dragged through a delicious pool of chocolate, to only then be sucked into a tube, or even growing old in a painting after being banished there by a group of witches (that whole painting deal still gives me my twenties).

Sure, eventually some of these kids are granted the chocolate factory, or kill the cult of witches, maybe even escape from "the chokey",but this fate is only for those children who are innately good; these few will prevail over all danger like superheroes.

No one succeeds in toppling over a crappy situation better than one brilliant tyke-Matilda.

With her ribbon tied tight in her hair, Matilda takes on the world with more vengeance at the age of five, than most people ever will in their lifetime. She is brought into a family who could care less about her existence and is left to fend for herself virtually from birth.

All she wants is one thing; to learn! One must always admire a child who's only dream is to attend school and devour everything offered in a library. It was true when I couldn't keep my hands off this book in elementary school, and still true to this day-Matilda is one of my idols. Hopefully, shy little girls everywhere are still getting charmed by her tale.

In rare form, the film version of Dahl's classic is just as lovable as the book, and whenever ABC Family decides to air this classic (which happens a lot) I get glued to the couch.

Besides the perfect casting of Mara Wilson as Matilda, Bruce Boggtrotter's delicious chocolate cake, and the smile inducing score that I have been nerding out on this afternoon, Danny Devito and Rhea Pearlman have roles of a lifetime as the utterly clueless, and terrible parents, that somehow were graced with Matilda as a daughter (side note: that million dollar sticky show should obviously really be on television).

Definitely a movie to love as child, and because it was filmed with quality (also directed by Mr. Devito), it can also be appreciated as we all grow older.  That scene where she walks down the street pulling her red wagon piled high with books from the library? Kills me everytime now! Oh, the joys of turning into an emotional woman.

Of course, in true Roald Dahl fashion, there is something magical to be found about this little girl other than her genius. Through the frustration with her family, Matilda discovers that she can make things move with her mind (a la Carrie, but a rated G version, without all that murder at the prom). She finds a way to use her talents to get back at all those terrible adults, and it actually all works out in her favor!

Matilda ends up with the embodiment of happiness, Miss Honey (and her fairytale-esque cottage!) -where they read Charles Dickens and frolic in fields-a happy end has never been more deserved.

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