HomeMoviesThe Top 10 Movies of 1996

The Top 10 Movies of 1996


Release Date: August 2nd

Cast: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Pam Ferris, Embeth Davidtz, Paul Reubens.

Director: Danny DeVito

Why I Love It (Marisa Carpico): Though Matilda is essentially a movie about a girl whose emotionally abusive parents send her to a school run by a physically abusive principal, it’s also one of the brightest and most fun children’s films you’ll ever see. A lot of that is thanks to the tone, which is often so lighthearted and ridiculous that it’s easy to forget all the bad things that happen. Take the scene where Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris) picks up a small girl by her pigtails and throws her. That horrifying abuse of power is immediately juxtaposed with the moment when the little girl lands unharmed in a field of flowers, her friends cheering as she slides through the dirt and scoops up handfuls of flowers as she goes.

Matilda poster

Kids’ movies often live and die by their child actors and Mara Wilson as the titular heroine is really lovely. A lot of her work here is non-verbal and she manages to convey everything Matilda is thinking and feeling without going too big. Director and star Danny DeVito clearly has a gift for directing children and the kids in this are universally wonderful. The same goes for the adults.

DeVito and real life wife Rhea Perlman are the perfect rude, self-absorbed slobs as Matilda’s parents. Ferris is frightening and sadistic as Miss Trunchbull, but also really gifted at physical comedy. And most importantly, Embeth Davidtz is entirely too wonderful as Miss Honey.

In a world that seems populated solely by mean adults, Miss Honey is a kind, caring influence for Matilda and the other students. She’s also meant to represent the woman Matilda will become. Like our heroine, she came from a bad family that didn’t appreciate her and yet she managed to find a way to live a happy, meaningful life. The idea that if you’re good and clever and determined you can overcome bad things is just a really good message for children to hear.

Best Line: The line where Matilda mistakenly says she’s been reading a lot of “Darles Chickens” lately because it perfectly sums up what makes this film so enjoyable. It’s a moment that feels sweet and real and spontaneous even though it was scripted.

Best Scene: All of them, but if I have to choose, then the scene where Matilda gets Liccy Doll back and terrifies Trunchbull in the process. It’s fun and a little twisted, but overall a great showcase of Matilda’s powers and just how clever and intuitive she is.


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Pop-Break Staff
Pop-Break Staffhttps://thepopbreak.com
Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.

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