Seeing this at 8:30am on day one of the London Film Festival, coupled with the fact that I tend to find a lot of musicals too melodramatic for my taste, throupled with my general lack of patience for child acting and quadrupled with the OG Matilda being a classic of my childhood meant I was not expecting to enjoy this in any way shape or form. BUT here I am to say this was a lovely surprise and I recommend you see it when it drops on Netflix on the 25th November.
Let me just start off by saying oh my god Emma Thompson is an amazing casting choice for Miss Trunchbull (somewhat courtesy of the makeup department) but wow what a performance. She came through with the maniacal supervillain scariness that still petrified me at the age of 20 paired with a zestful vocal performance. She oozes character (and what a career progression going from Nanny McPhee to Trunchbull). The next shout out goes to Mr Stephen Graham. It was tough shoes to fill given Danny Devito starred the last time this character was seen on the big screen but he came through with the gnarly British version we all needed. Outside of those two performances everyone was pretty decent. The child performances were mostly tolerable except for a couple of classic child acting moments, looking at you Rosemary!
Production design! The attention to detail on the sets with props all the way down to colour palettes (the house looks great) amped up the fun vibes massively. Great choreography especially given these kids are up to like 14 years old max. Some of the songs bugged me out a bit, I don’t hugely fuck with children ensemble vocals but that’s a general taste thing from me. The songs are by and large catchy and well written (witty!) just not for me.
My other main gripe with this was the ending. The climax/final battle happened way too fast even if it was pretty fun. Also what the fuck was the theme park. I get it was a cool set and all but it had nothing to do with the plot or the school. I guess it’s somewhat in the same vein as a performing arts circus but it was just a bit cringey and random.
All in all, watch it with some kids or your family. A wholesome watch especially if you grew up with the Danny Devito movie or the book.
3.5 STARS (LONDON FILM FESTIVAL)