Matilda director and star Danny DeVito reacts to his 1996 Roald Dahl adaptation breaking into the Netflix Top 10 list. Based on the 1988 novel of the same name, the adaptation follows young Matilda (Mara Wilson) as she develops psychic powers and uses them to fight back against her abusive parents, played by DeVito and Rhea Perlman, and the sadistic Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), her school’s headmistress. While failing to recoup its budget at the box office, the film would go on to find success when it was released on VHS.
Matilda recently broke into the Top 10 list on Netflix, and DeVito celebrated the occasion with a Tweet in which he calls it “sweet.” Check out DeVito’s post below:
Matilda has since become something of a cult classic since its release, and the film’s popularity evidently lives on even 27 years later. The Dahl book was also recently adapted once more into Matilda the Musical, which hit Netflix last year.
Why Matilda Remains Popular Today
Matilda is one of several notable movies released in the 1990s that failed to find an audience in theaters but would subsequently become a VHS hit. In addition to featuring a hilarious and touching story from Dahl, the movie also features an array of memorable performances. Wilson is great as Matilda, capturing the character’s innocence and quickly making her someone worth rooting for.
However, Matilda also really shines because of its villains. DeVito and Perlman are truly unlikable as Harry and Zinnia, and the two make Matilda’s home life generally unbearable. It’s Miss Agatha Trunchbull, though, who serves as a major standout. Boasting an intimidating appearance and all the qualities of a tyrannical dictator, Miss Trunchbull is a villain who frightens adults just as much as children.
Of course, Matilda also features a unique tone that makes it stick out from other children’s fare, both at the time and today. Instead of featuring a more sanitized depiction of Matilda’s home and school life, the film isn’t afraid to show the harsh realities of her everyday experiences. This tone and dark sense of humor is all rooted in emotion and a meaningful character journey, something that evidently makes Matilda a timelessly entertaining watch.
Source: Danny DeVito