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Roald Dahl's "Matilda the Musical"

Standing up for what's right, she's met with miraculous results. She takes charge of her own destiny.

Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical (2022)

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Matilda the Musical is a 2022 Netflix adaptation of the 2011 stage musical of the same name. It focuses on a little girl named Matilda Wormwood (Alisha Weir), the adopted child of Miss Jennifer Honey (Lashana Lynch), the inspector who visits her family home after learning she is not properly schooled. The musical’s topics and themes are student rights, standing up for what’s right, and taking control of one’s own destiny.

When Matilda goes to a new school, she befriends Lavender, the new kid. Her school setting can be described as unpredictable and not following school standards for young kids under the law. The teachers and school principal are abusive towards the students, as the students are blamed for crimes they didn’t commit. Wrongful punishment is the main conflict of Matilda the Musical, as the required school policy for primary and secondary education is choosing a punishment that appropriately fits the crime. As a result of the abusive behavior the teachers are practicing, Matilda and the other students form a rebellion to change the school structure for the better.

Matilda cover image

Wrongful punishment is also practiced outside of the school setting, as shown when Matilda’s father locks her in her own room for a crime that she didn’t commit. Matilda’s personality is defined as rebellious and defensive, as she fights for justice among her fellow peers who want to have student rights. Student rights are the main theme of Matilda the Musical, as it is classified as a societal problem that happens in many primary and secondary schools in the United States. Since every school district is different, school policies can change depending on outside factors. Students have the right to be safe and have a proper education without distractions.

In addition, viewers also learn that Matilda has the powers of telekinesis, as these powers are revealed during the climax of the movie. She uses her powers to rebel against the harsh school policies and defeat Ms. Trunchbull.

There is a strong representation of African Americans and women in this Netflix adaptation of Matilda the Musical. Emma Thompson plays Agatha Trunchbull, the main antagonist of the film. Miss Honey is played by an African American woman. There are other women who play supporting and recurring roles. Some songs that viewers may recognize from the film are “When I Grow Up”, a song sung by the students about their futures as adults, and “Revolting Children”, a song sung by the adults about the students rebelling against them.

Overall, the Netflix adaptation of Matilda the Musical is recommended for viewers because the movie teaches viewers about student rights at schools.