Parents' Guide to

The Secret Garden (2020)

By Stefan Pape, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Adaptation has positive themes but falls short on magic.

Movie PG 2020 106 minutes
The Secret Garden (2020) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 15 parent reviews

age 10+


As someone who loves the book and recently listened to the Audible version with my children, this movie is a total disgrace to the original story. I'm not sure why it was even allowed to be called The Secret Garden, because its really not even the same story at all. Ghosts? A fire? The characters were shallow and hard to connect with. And how could they leave out Ben Weatherstaff?! I will say it was visually beautiful to watch, but that's about all I can say in its favor. My 10 year old daughter kept saying, "That's not in the book!" Thoroughly disappointing, the 1987 version is my favorite.
1 person found this helpful.
age 6+

A real disappointment

I was really looking forward to watching this movie with my kids because I was a huge fan of the book as a child. The whole story was rewritten almost entirely. It was probably the most boring a slow movie we've ever watched as a family. I would not recommend it other than for the beautiful scenery and quality of the pictures.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (15):
Kids say (11):

This is an accomplished turn by director Marc Munden, and it has an indelible charm despite delving into heavy themes like grief. With children at the forefront, The Secret Garden encourages adult viewers to get back in touch with their childlike wonder. But for a film all about imagination, it's hard not to wish it offered a little bit more.

There's some enchantment, certainly, but the movie lacks a certain spark. It actually works better as a more profound study of grief -- particularly in children who are trying to make sense of losing a parent. This is where the film excels, and it's helped along by exciting performances from the young cast, especially Egerickx, who's fantastic as Mary. (On the other hand, there isn't enough of Julie Walters. But then, there's never really enough of Julie Walters.) Devoted fans of the book -- of whom there are many -- will notice significant differences between it and this adaptation, most notably in the fantastical way the garden itself is portrayed (in the book, it's very much a standard, if special, garden) and in Mary and Colin's mothers' relationship. Those who aren't as familiar with the original story may be more likely to enjoy the movie for what it is, not what it isn't.

Movie Details

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