Movie Review: Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical (2022)

Coming to Netflix.

Director Matthew Warchus adapts his stage show of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical (C+) with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but those who endure it in its entirety may find some simple pleasures scattered in its mix. First, Alisha Weir is wonderful in the title role, a precocious little girl unloved by her parents who escapes into books and braves a sinister school. Her lovely singing voice and power of telekinesis help her thwart an evil steampunk headmistress played by a committed Emma Thompson in a pancake of prosthetics. As a sympathetic teacher, Lashana Lynch is endearing and has a lovely singing voice. The filming style and scrambled tone don’t do the film’s songs any favors, and the story gets bogged down in flashbacks and a moribund schoolyard confrontation. The scope of the visual effects could fit inside Harry Potter’s broom closet bedroom, the spry highjinks rarely take flight and the stakes remain strangely inert. But we don’t get spunky female heroines very often, so there’s likely something here to entertain legions of daughters.

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