If you’re at all familiar with the Roald Dahl children’s book “Matilda,” then “Matilda the Musical” is a must-see.
Come to think of it, if you’ve never heard of the book, the movie is a must-see anyway, because then it might lead your family to spend time together enjoying this wonderful book.
Matthew Warchus (“Pride”) has wrought a gem that deserves to be seen by children and adults alike who will enjoy its clever story line, eye-popping visuals, fantastic choreography and memorable songs. He deftly helmed this film based on the stage musical adaptation of the book.
The superb Alisha Weir plays Matilda, the only child of possibly the worst parents you can imagine. They don’t like their little girl because she’s honest, smart and always has her nose in a book.
They ignore her so much they forget to send her to school. When they finally do, she finds an ally in Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch, “No Time to Die”) a kindly teacher who realizes just how gifted her new student is.
But there’s danger afoot. Matilda gets on the wrong side of Miss Trunchbull (a gloriously villainous Emma Thompson,) the terrifying head of the school. The brave Matilda knows she must stand up for what’s right.
Alisha was, simply, born to be a star, with a natural charm far beyond her years. She and Thompson are terrific nemeses.
The choreography is some of the best you will see anywhere. The child dancers are a delight to watch, and the songs are memorable.
You don’t need to be a child or have a child to enjoy this rollicking, clever film that will appeal to just about anyone.
(By the way, you also may be interested in the 1996 “Matilda.” It’s a joy, too. It was directed by one of its stars: Danny DeVito.)
Rated: PG for scary situations.
Running time: Just a few minutes shy of two hours.
At Cinemark, Davenport; streams on Netflix beginning Christmas Day.
Watch the trailer here.