‘Matilda’ Wasn’t Afraid To Make Kids Sad — And That’s Why It’s a Classic

If you loved 1996’s Matilda — wore out the VHS tape, stared too hard at glasses of water hoping to make them fall — chances are you identified with its lead character just a bit too much.

Adapted from a classic children’s book by Roald Dahl, the screen version of the story has become, at least stateside, the definitive version.

The tale of a telekinetic six-and-a-half-year-old (Mara Wilson) who uses her powers to influence surrounding adults, Matilda has become a veritable children’s classic, thanks in large part to its campiness and great performances.

That’s why it can be sort of surprising to look back on the film as an adult — to see its themes and characters through a more responsible lens.

Things we accepted as children suddenly seem over-the-top, even ghoulish.

Wait, you might say, they forced this child to eat a whole cake? How, you might think, did they get away…

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