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Film REVIEW: Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical - ★★★★

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

Calling all revolting children (and their parents)! Roald Dahl’s classic story of a bookworm’s rebellion is in cinemas now! Gorge yourself on our guide to Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical.

Director: Matthew Warchus

Writer: Dennis Kelly

Based on:

Roald Dahl's Matilda by Matthew Warchus, Dennis Kelly, Tim Minchin

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Stars: Alisha Weir, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, Emma Thompson.

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Family

Themes: Remake, Based on book, Based on play or musical

An adaptation of the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical. Matilda tells the story of an extraordinary girl who, armed with a sharp mind and a vivid imagination, dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results

The film received positive reviews from critics, with particular praise for Thompson's performance.

In Cinemas Now


Nina (Age 10) - ★★★★★

"I would give it five stars. It is an outstanding production from the book Matilda by Roald Dahl which was made into a non musical movie which you can watch on Netflix. I loved Matilda The Musical because it is funny and the songs are amazing. It is sad at some points because Miss Trunchbull (who is the head mistress of Crunchem hall school) is very cruel to the children but she is quite a funny character as well. One of my favourite songs is Revolting Children which is a very happy and upbeat song. Matilda The Musical is based on a theatre production with songs written by Tim Minchin.

Overall Matilda The Musical is a very awesome movie. It is in cinemas now. And its great to watch on the big screen!"

Jan (Age 11) - ★★★★

"I liked most of the songs. But I didn't like the idea of Matilda being telepathic. The headteacher was a very funny character. I really enjoyed the part when Matilda dyes her Dad's hair green."

Matilda (Age 8) - ★★★★

"I really like that Matilda has power and can use them for lots of things. I like how she put glue in her Dad's hat."

Have you seen it yet?


New Matilda Musical buzz - the new Matilda movie...

First it was a 1988 book by Roald Dahl. Then it was a 1996 film starring Danny DeVito. Next it was a 2011 West End musical that won a record-breaking seven Olivier Awards. In every incarnation, we’ve fallen for quirky Matilda and her mischievous magical powers. Now this beloved bookworm and her gang of revolting children are coming to the big screen. Better still, all the greedy, grasping villains will be there too.

Rest assured, with stage show director Matthew Warchus, composer Tim Minchin (Robin Hood, Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway) and scriptwriter Dennis Kelly all onboard, Hollywood is not about to fumble your childhood favourite. But with a wildcard A-list cast, brand-new songs and more jokes than ever before, Matilda 2022 might be the best telling yet.


New Matilda movie plot - What happens in Matilda 2022?

Spare a thought for poor Matilda. In a cruel twist of fate and genetics, this sweet, gentle, book-loving little girl is born to the monstrous Mr and Mrs Wormwood: a pair of blinging, TV-bingeing, peanut-brained oafs who stamp on their daughter’s passion, tear up her novels and pack her off to the bleak Crunchem Hall.

If it’s possible, Matilda’s life is even worse under the school’s hulking headmistress Miss Trunchbull, whose inventive approach to corporal punishment includes hammer-throwing angelic Amanda Thripp by her pigtails and force-feeding hungry Bruce Bogtrotter with a chocolate cake the size of a monster truck tyre.

Fortunately, Matilda might have an ally in kind-hearted teacher Miss Honey, while the discovery of her telekinetic powers could be just the thing to take down Trunchbull.


New Matilda movie lead - Who plays Matilda in the latest film?

Born in Dublin, 13-year-old Alisha Weir (Two by Two: Overboard) stood out from thousands of more experienced young actresses. “For Matilda, it’s quite particular because you’re looking for somebody who can convey maturity, but who is very small and as young as possible, with a face that looks very thoughtful,” director Matthew Warchus told The Hollywood Reporter. “So you’re looking for a different energy. We got a tape of Alicia at home in Dublin. She didn’t look immediately like Matilda – but it became quickly apparent that she had something unique and was absolutely perfect.”


New Matilda movie cast - Who are the biggest names in Matilda 2022?

You’ve got to hand it to Lashana Lynch (Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness): she’s got range. The last time most of us saw the BAFTA-winning British actress she was knuckling with Bond in No Time To Die, or turning herself into a human kebab as an Agojie warrior in The Woman King. Now, as Miss Honey, she couldn’t be sweeter. “I was quite confused when I got the call,” Lynch admits. “But I was glad they trusted me to deal with a level of softness because I hadn’t shown it yet. I was dying to do it.”

Unlike Miss Honey, Matilda’s parents are vile, with Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion, Battle of the Sexes) suitably hateful as brash, breeze-headed Mrs Wormwood and This Is England’s Stephen Graham (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides / Salazar's Revenge) revealing to interviewers on the red carpet that his crooked car salesman was based on a couple of ’80s icons. “I watched a snooker documentary before I started filming. It was about Alex Higgins, and he had, like, a gold bracelet and a gold watch. So I nicked that. And then, as a kid, I used to watch Arthur Daley in Minder. So it was my opportunity to pay homage to someone who I think was a great actor. But also, that kind of Arthur Daley-esque characteristics that I nicked from him.”

Indian stand-up comedian Sindhu Vee excels as kindly librarian Mrs Phelps. But the new Matilda movie might be stolen by Emma Thompson (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban / Deathly Hallows Part 2) as Miss Trunchbull. “It was absolutely bliss, because you can indulge in your inner demons and let them out to play,” she said at the premiere, before adding that her villain deserved a sliver of sympathy. “I decided that Trunchbull was cruel to children because she couldn’t bear her own childhood. She couldn’t bear any vulnerability in children because when she’d been vulnerable she’d been crushed.”


New Matilda movie soundtrack - Which songs should we listen out for in Matilda 2022?

Australian composer-slash-comedian Tim Minchin smashed the stage show soundtrack, from the poignant ballad When I Grow Up to the rebel chants of Revolting Children. You can expect to hear all of those classics – but the big revelation is that Matilda 2022 will also feature a top-secret new song that Minchin describes as “a joy”.

“The film adjusts a few things and will adjust the orchestrations to contemporise them a bit without damaging the world we’ve created,” Minchin told Official London Theatre. “There is some new music, and I wonder if that might be reverse-engineered into the stage show.”

He also told 9Honey Celebrity that Emma Thompson aced the singing. “She just threw herself so hard into this role. I was listening to her sing these songs and I'm like, 'You're gonna kill your voice’, and she was just like, ‘Rahhhh…!’”


New Matilda movie reviews - What are the critics saying about Matilda 2022?

At time of writing, the new Matilda movie boasted a rare 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “It’s a frothy, whimsical delight that encompasses every expectation we were bound to have already placed on it,” wrote Clarisse Loughrey in The Independent. “It’s intrinsically British enough that I half expect it to be soon absorbed into the Paddington cinematic universe.

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw noted that this “all-singing, hall-dancing adaptation is by the book brilliance”, while The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin picked out Emma Thompson’s thundering Trunchbull as the star turn. “Her performance as this all-time-great villain is a masterclass in caricature. The laser-like glare, the unstoppable bosom-first stride, the one eye that twitches uncontrollably at moments of high tension – every gesture and line delivery feels honed to elicit as many shivers as belly laughs.”


Whether you curled up with a copy of Roald Dahl’s Matilda back in 1988, or have just finished reading it aloud to your own kids, Matthew Warchum’s movie is the perfect winter warmer.

“I loved making Matilda so much and I thought it would be good enough to go to the West End and that was about as far as my brain got,” said Minchin at the new Matilda movie premiere. “And then this, to see what Matthew has done with this film… it’s not easy to take a stage musical and turn it into a feature film and I think he’s a brilliant writer and creator.”

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