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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
More for entertainment than education, but kids might learn a bit about England in the 1940s. Also, kids might be interested in reading the Secret Garden books after watching the movies.
Some good messages about the importance of loving and caring for people and things (like gardens), and how a lack of attention can cause things to falter.
Positive Role Models
Lizzie Buscana devotes her free time to cultivating flower gardens. She does her best to make sure the flowers stay alive, and loves the creatures who frolic in the secret garden. As a headmistress of a boarding school, Martha Sowerby is strict but fair to her students, even when they get into trouble.
Violence & Scariness
A fire breaks out on the bed of one of the students in the boarding school, but it is quickly put out. A boy is shoved into a fountain when a girl thinks he stole a key that opens the door to the secret garden. A boy is shoved from his chair by a girl after the boy calls her names.
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Some name-calling and disrespect, like calling a teacher a "sow," or when a boy calls Lizzie "American" in a derogatory way.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A student of an English boarding school asks a girl newly arrived from America if she brought cigarettes, because she says they could make money selling the cigarettes in the nearby village.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Back to the Secret Garden is a sequel to the 1993 film The Secret Garden and is a charming tale of mystery and magical realism set in 1946 Yorkshire, England. The kids in the school occasionally get into brief shouting and shoving matches as they try to figure out why the school's secret garden is dying, and how it can be brought back to life. But on the whole, the kids remain quite prim and proper as they come of age. The headmistress, Martha Sowerby, is a tough but fair authority figure, and a welcome contrast to the two-dimensional authority figures often portrayed in kids' movies. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
BACK TO THE SECRET GARDEN is a charming mix of magical realism and mystery set in 1946 Yorkshire, England. The characters are very much of their time -- prim, proper, yet inclined to mischief -- and fully drawn and developed. The acting -- from the largest to the smallest roles -- is excellent. The story is engaging, and stands among the best of English children's stories.
Even if you haven't seen the 1993 film The Secret Garden (of which this is a sequel), Back to the Secret Garden stands on its own. Parents and kids alike will find much to enjoy in this film.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.