MATILDA is a tough one to review. The source material has been adapted three times, and each adaptation has a distinct feel. Yet, across all adaptations, the emotional theme of Roald Dahl’s classic book remains true: adults can be revolting, and kids are much more intelligent than adults think they are.
So why are audiences getting another version of MATILDA? It’s because of two reasons.
- We Need It. Yes, we need to see that good people can beat bullies. That universal story never gets old.
- The Musical needed a bigger audience. Theatre is fantastic for those that have the means to experience it. I’m happy that Netflix’s reach provides new families an opportunity to fall in love with this classic story and the wonderful music.
With that, here’s my non-revolting list of favorite MATILDA versions.
- MATILDA the book – The source material by Roald Dahl with illustrations from Quentin Blake is forever imprinted in my head. I’ve read this book countless times. I remember Matilda giving me a voice. Not to stand up to wicked adults but to a relatable hero that spent their summers at the library reading books. I’m thankful my mom took me to the library where I discovered the book, and I can’t wait to read it to my son someday and pay it forward.
- MATILDA: THE MUSICAL theatre – The theatrical adaptation soars. Most of the songs, especially “Quiet,” “When I Grow Up,” and “Naughty,” are thoughtful, catchy show tunes that capture the essence of Roald Dahl’s book.
- ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA: THE MUSICAL Netflix movie – Everything about the musical is captured in this adaptation. Yet, the overuse of CGI takes away from the magic of the story.
- MATILDA the movie – The Danny Devito adaptation, is faithful to the source material. For the most part, it all works in capturing Roald Dahl’s tone. Yet, if I were to pick how I wanted to spend my time, I’d gladly reread the book instead of rewatching this adaptation.
With the cold winter, I encourage families to sit back, watch the latest MATILDA, and be inspired that “somewhere inside of all of us is the power to change the world.”
It’s available to stream on Netflix.