Common Sense Media says

Offbeat dark fantasy gem is intense, sometimes scary.

Users say

(out of 104 reviews)
age 8+
Review this title!
Adult Written bywonder dove May 24, 2012

Beautifully crafted film!

One of my all-time favorite movies - even as an adult! This film is amazing, which is why it may not be suitable to some families. It's very magical and fun with a very good message and positive role models! Matilda grows up in a bad environment, with her mother obsessed with her own self image and her father dealing in illegal activities (taking advantage of others and selling fake car parts) and a very annoying brother who bullies her - she takes on a natural magical ability that helps her through it. It has lots of kiddy scares, some very mean characters (which is why some people are put off by it (hey, it's a movie! and it's supposed to have a villain..or two!) Matilda's character is very gentle, sweet and caring...as is her teacher who finally adopts her from her terrible family. A great ending will have you smiling.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byTwin_mom February 5, 2010
We love many of Roald Dahl's stories and some of the movie adaptations, but both of my children and I hated it and turned it off after about 45 minutes. (Later I watched the end by myself.) My 7-year-olds said they were scared by the hateful parents and violent teacher, even though they realized that it was all exaggerated and supposed to be humorous They also disliked the bleakness of the surroundings. The movie is so dark and depressing in the depiction of the adults who are all either clueless, indifferent or outright abusive that the positive message about a child's self-determination gets lost. Too much focus is on the violence and abuse perpetrated by adults who are supposed to love and protect Matilda. Also, it begs the question: How would Matilda fare without her exceptional powers and abilities? Where does it leave a regular kid in a terrible situation? Hopeless.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 7 year old Written bySealrockpoet October 21, 2010

Over the top violence could reinforce child's dislike of school authority

This movie is over the top, when it comes to violence. Too much, too extreme, and each incident of violence goes on and on. True, it's fantasy, and true, it's cartoon-like, but does this mean that cartoon violence is okay? The heroine is cute, and winsome, and brave ... but her solutions to the problems aren't realistic. Also, if a young viewer already has issues with school and/or authority, this film would reinforce a dislike of both school AND authority.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bygreenafy June 1, 2011

Loved this movie as a kid, still do now

I remember watching this movie when I was in first grade and I remember loving it, as I still do now. As a kid, I never followed the bad examples of this movie as other people say there are in it (ex. too much violence, drinking, lying and cheating, etc). It was a cute and inspiring film and I was never scared by it at all. Now that I'm older, I do notice a lot of those things in Matilda that parents notice when they watch it, but it's not an issue because they're not influenced by it. I think all kids should watch it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 2 and 5 year old Written byUrania8 April 26, 2010

Scary adults rein this cute flick

It's a cute movie and Dahl is always awesome but this was just too scary and intense for our 5 (almost 6 year old). Allot of shouting and grown ups abusing children. Even though we are quite liberal with what we let her watch (Nightmare Before Christmas) she asked us to turn it off.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written bytriplets April 9, 2008

Disturbing Meanness

Frequently reassuring my nearly 10 year old kids that parents and principals would never act so meanly to kids, this movie was darker than I had imagined it would be. I wish I would have previewed it in its entirety first. Leather whips, children hurled across schoolyards, a closet full of knives that children are forced into, and children having to hide in fear while no adult seems to care enough to protect them seems over the top. Although Matilda perseveres in the end, it is through magical powers that are used to frighten mean adults into submission. Other adults in the story could not stand up to bullying adults, or didn't care enough to pay attention... and Matilda used her powers to get even, to humiliate, and bully back. The parents give Matilda up for adoption at the end, as they are being sought by police for theft. The humor of just rewards was there, but overshadowed, I felt by the darkness of the movie.
Kid, 10 years old July 22, 2010
Good movie, bad parents, bad principal, but very very VERY nice teacher. The tricks she does on the principal are funny. A very good family movie. Please watch it!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old August 12, 2011

BEST MOVIE EVER!

AWESOME MOVIE!! Watched it ever sense I was like 5! Matilda is a great role model because she learns to take care of herself,(Like this scene where the parents leave her alone, she even made her OWN pancakes!)and She has an aditude for school(Early reader, knows like EVERY SINGLE TIMES TABLE!) Ms. Honey is another good role model.She cares about children, is very calm. She will never yell or scream.(Like your angry 5th grade teacher.) The bad role models are, The Wormwoods,Ms. Trunchbull, and Mike Wormwood. Mrs. Wormwood ONLY cares about makeup and beauty, when Ms. Honey had a confrense with them. This is what Mrs. Wormwood said. "You chose Books, and I chose Looks." (She says this in the Book too.) Mr. Wormwood, he cheats of his clients in the car wash. Ms. Trunchbull, Hates Children, if they misbehave she locks them in the Chockey. (A coffin filled with thorns,spikes, and everything pointy. BE WHERE THE CHOCKY!! BWAHAHAHA! Perfect movie for any age!
What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byp1xelpush3r June 7, 2012

Surreal Work of Art

What a great, dark, insightful, tender, adventurous movie. It is such a fun ride, and depending on the kid, they will be into it and talking about it for days. My 4 year old watched it before I checked it out on here, and I was apprehensive, but she understood the fairytale nature and made associations with the feelings and frustrations of the characters. It's very Tim Burton-esque in that sense and even though it can be dark, the surrealism allows some kids to understand the satire. All the characters and actors have depth and are superbly executed. The movie is not for everyone, but my little one thoroughly enjoyed it.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written byhannahec February 23, 2011
Its good well great for older kids bout too scary for any kids younger
What other families should know
Too much violence
Safety and privacy concerns
Educator and Parent Written byMamaSzrama July 18, 2015

One of the BEST Movie-from-Book Adaptations

A wonderfully fun movie that will show them that, no matter what, their life is not so bad... that books are one way to find friends and hope when none seems apparent... and that, as every child LONGS to know, there is ALWAYS the triumph of goodness over badness. Those who claim this could incite kids against authority or school are clearly delusional. I can confidently say that I struggled with both as a kid, and never once associated this movie with either struggle. Instead my family found this movie delightful and we still quote it often 15 years later. It was great-- pure, hilarious fun, with one of the best villains to ever step straight from pen to screen. Ms. Trunchball looks exactly as Dahl described her. As for the "over-the-top" violence and "unrealistic" solutions, guys, it's A KID'S MOVIE. The violence is never "realistic." In the second Curious George the Man with the Yellow Hat falls out of a moving train and is totally unhurt (just like all the kids in this book). Dahl's books are all over-the-top, it's what makes kids able to relate to them in delight. As for realism... no, you're right, I don't know anyone who can move things telekinetically... sooo....
What other families should know
Great messages
Parent of a 1 and 6 year old Written bybrettyd December 30, 2012

nice film, sweet

a cute film, a feel good film, but unfortunately there were a few tiny errors, booze, and a couple of swear words, most of the violence is comical though, the pretence of a ghost through here telekinetic powers, but other than that this is a fine film for children, teens and adults alike, my boy saw this film when he was 5 and does enjoy it, but now hes 6 its all about action now
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 13 years old Written bypoe-ette June 16, 2012

Oh Jesus, people.

If your child can't handle children being yelled at by their overly evil principal (in a silly, completely gore-free way) and they don't laugh, take them to a phsychiatrist. I mean, seriously, the worst that happens is that the Trunchbull throws a little girl into a field of flowers. Get over it! How lame must you as a parent to let your kid get a movie like this if they are very sensitive or very young. Face it. This. movie. Is. Not. Violent. I watched this movie, Jaws, and the Nightmare before Christmas when i was 3 and loved all of them. This is a beautiful, witty movie, unlike the trash about talking puppies and Barbies. this, my friends, is true proof that British movies are AWESOME! And i'm american! All ages appropriate, clever, and all-aroubd marvelous. Watch it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Teen, 17 years old Written byyukkk April 9, 2008
Teen, 13 years old Written byMadelineMini April 3, 2015

An instant family classic!

I have loved this movie ever since I first saw it! The parents are bad and hilarious at the same time, plus Matilda is a great role model. I wish everyone could see this movie. Matilda is a good role model because she can take care of herself, she's kind, polite, and she loves to read. It is a little dark, but there's a good ending. Definitely one of my alltime favorite movies.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written bymardoggie2013 March 27, 2010

Great for whole family!

This movie is very great and family friendly. The only concerns are violent/scary moments with Ms. Trunchbull and one or two curse words.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byMI Mom of 2 February 5, 2011
Although my children (ages 7 &; 9) found parts funny, my husband and I found the entire movie dreadful. First off, it is really dark - the parents are constantly calling the children terrible names and drinking beer, watching tv and glorifying that lifestyle. I understand that it is funny in a dark way, but considering this is a movie "for children" it is very inappropriate. Also, if you have adoptive children - the end is just shocking. The first thing out of my daughter's mouth was "why is her parents giving her away? They don't like her?" Being an adoptive family, I felt the message they send on how the parents just shrug their shoulders and give their child away is very dark and sad. And we haven't even tapped into the principal of the school who is physically violent with the children - which is intended to be laughable but just came off as making you uncomfortable to watch it. I give this movie a big fat ZERO. Read the book instead and use your own imagination because this is just not worth it and most of the main characters are terrible role models.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Safety and privacy concerns
Kid, 11 years old February 27, 2015

Great Roald Dahl Classic, But I prefer the Musical.

Amazing story line! Some dark and a little scary parts. There is the Choky and a girl gets swung around by her hair. There is also mean parents. I'd say this is good for around 3rd grade. To dark for younger kids. By the way I'd reccomend the musical its AMAZING!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written bygotcommonsense February 13, 2014

ridiculous and disturbing

I found almost everything in this movie ridiculous or disturbing or both. Not a bit funny. Too many bad and stupid scenes to list them all. Really bad messages throughout. Was painful to watch the poor fat boy being forced to eat a humongous chocolate cake until he was about to pass out. Not one parent believed their child enough to look into what they said about the principal -- even when they came home from school after dark? The wonderful teacher stood by while the principal abuse the children and told no one? NO ONE, including billliant Matilda had the sense to report this insane principal to the authorities -- even when they came to her house? Instead she used her superpowers to rescue her theiving dad from being arrested. But she also used her powers to get back at her parents, and engaged in dangerous vigilantiasm, almost getting herself and the teacher killed. Horrible movie for kids of any age! My son saw it at school and found it upsetting! So I watched the entire movie to see if it had any redeeming qualities in the end, but there were none. And neither the abusive, neglectful parents who are also theives nor the evil, abusive principal, who also seems to have murdered the teacher's father, ever had to pay for their crimes.
Kid, 11 years old January 22, 2016

Amazing movie, mature topics

TIP: ONLY FOR MATURE 6 year olds. If your 6 yr. old gets easily sad / scared don't show them this. There are occasional curse words, but mild. It has been my favorite movie since 2nd grade and definitely have a memorable family movie night w/ this one!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

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