Run time: 118 mins
A candy-coloured adaptation of both Tim Minchin’s smash-hit musical and Roald Dahl’s beloved classic.
Utterly misunderstood by her narrow-minded opportunistic parents, the naturally bright Matilda educates herself with the help of story-loving librarian Mrs Phelps. When she is eventually enrolled for school at Crunchem Hall, Matilda strikes up a bond with her teacher, Miss Honey. But it’s a different tale elsewhere. The older girls are menacing and child-loathing headmistress Miss Trunchbull (Thompson) is a terrifying, monstrous presence who rules with an iron fist (and Hammer). When Matilda calls her out as a bully, Trunchbull vows to crush her, setting off a battle of wits that escalates to outrageous proportions.
This is a reimagining focusing not so much on Matilda’s telekinetic powers but on how stifling grown-ups can be of of children’s wishes and dreams. It allows the music to take the story to another place, and Minchin’s catalogue of catchy numbers are an absolute joy from start to finish.
Packed with laughs, shocks, surprises and a spectacularly scene-stealing performance from Thompson, this is one Dahl adaptation that’s surreal, fantastical and strange enough without ever feeling the need to morph into another lifeless Tim Burton production. Great fun.