Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Review: A Rousingly Revolting Musical - SciFiNow

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Review: A Rousingly Revolting Musical

From the same creative team behind the multi-award-winning stage musical, here is our review of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical…


This vivaciously imagined film adaptation of the Matilda stage musical by the same creative team behind the multi-award-winning West End and Broadway show is beautifully choreographed and as amusingly gross as Roald Dahl’s novel published in 1988. Featuring a fantastic ensemble cast of young newcomers and big British actors, and with new songs written by Tim Minchin, the film kicks off with a gleeful energy that occasionally lets up for some tender, tear-jerking moments between Matilda (Alisha Weir) and the kind Miss Honey (an incredible Lashana Lynch singing her heart out).

Emma Thompson is having a blast as the villainous Miss Trunchbull, the authoritarian headmistress who Matilda encounters when her selfish parents (Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough being entertainingly unpleasant) are forced to send her to school. Already a bookworm and certified genius, Matilda uncovers new telekinesis powers when driven to the edge by Trunchbull’s iron fist ruling, and leads a glorious revolution with her school chums.

Fans of the book may be put off by the musical numbers, but Minchin’s songs possess a charming childlike sensibility and add a new emotional layer to the material. The way ‘When I Grow Up’ plays out on screen perfectly captures the innocent aspirations of childhood, such as gobbling sweets for dinner. The film also retains the mischievous and macabre humour of the novel, balancing it out with a few heartfelt moments that may have you reaching for the tissues. The dynamic between Weir and Lynch is particularly poignant as their characters’ affinity with one another is handled with creative verve, and the two actors share a delightful chemistry.

Though the film may run a bit too long for little ones, at nearly two hours, it does manage to maintain its momentum thanks to the particularly game cast belting out tunes and in the darker moments the inspired CGI wizardry really sings and rousingly speaks to modern times.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical was seen and reviewed at the 2022 London Film Festival. It will be in cinemas on 25 November.