Matilda (film)

1996 film directed by Danny DeVito

Matilda is a American/British 1996 film about a young girl who is extremely smart and loves reading, who has difficulties in life in the form of her disapproving parents Harry and Zinnia and her brother Michael Wormwood plus her terrifying headmistress at school. Matilda soon finds that she has telekinetic powers she can control things with her mind.

Directed by Danny DeVito. Written by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord, based on the novel by Roald Dahl.
Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.


[We start with a close-up of a baby girl's face as the camera then pulls back from her. She's in a nursery room in a hospital]
Narrator: [first lines] Everyone is born, but not everyone is the born the same. Some will grow to be butchers or bakers or candlestick makers. Some will only be really good at making a Jell-O salad. One way or another, though, every human being is unique for better or for worse.
[A nurse picks up the baby and shows her to a man, who grumbles and walks off]
Narrator: Most parents believe that their children are the most beautiful creatures that ever graced this planet. Other take a less emotional approach.
[Outside, adults look at their newborn kids. The man, Harry Wormwood, walks beside his wife, Zinnia Wormwood]
Harry: What a waste of time.
Zinnia: And painful.
Harry: And expensive. $9.25 for a bar of soap?
Zinnia: Well, I had to take a shower, Harry.
Harry: $5000? I'm not paying it. What are they gonna do, repossess the kid?
[Harry puts the baby girl in the back of his car. Looking back at her, a boy waves a toy, making her anxious. Harry jerks the car forward, causing the baby to slide. He hits the gas pedal, causing the baby to slide back]
Harry: There's no way out.
Zinnia: Make a U-turn.
[As Harry makes different turns in every direction, the baby looks dizzy]
Zinnia: Harry!
Harry: Alright.
[The car speeds over speedbumps]
Zinnia: [voice vibrating] Harry!
[Elsewhere in a neighborhood]
Boy: The Wormwood guy is back!
Narrator: Harry & Zinnia Wormwood lived in a very nice neighborhood, in a very nice house. But they weren't really very nice people. (I think.)
[The Wormwoods arrive at their home]
Harry: Get outta the street, little dodos!
[As Harry, Zinnia and their son, Michael, enter the house, the baby girl is still in the car]
Narrator: The Wormwoods were so wrapped up in their own silly lives that they barely noticed that they had a daughter. Had they paid attention to her at all they'd have realized she was a rather extraordinary child.
[The baby girl is sitting on the night bar]
Zinnia: Oh, my gosh, Matilda, now look what you did!
Narrator: They named her Matilda.
[As Matilda writes her name on green baby food, Zinnia wipes it off]
Zinnia: You're supposed to eat the spinach. Ew! Ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew, ew!
[Zinnia picks her up and puts her in the sink]
Zinnia: Babies! You're better off raising tomatoes.
[Matilda, now older, wipes her face with a rag]
Narrator: By the time she was 2 years old, Matilda had learned what most people learn in their early 30s: How to take care of herself.
[She jumps down to the floor. Now more older, Matilda gets dressed]
Narrator: As time went by, she developed a sense of style. Every morning, Matilda's older brother, Michael, went to school.
Michael: Bye, Mom!
Zinnia: Get outta here.
Narrator: Her father went to work, selling used cars for unfaired prices.
Zinnia: Make money.
Narrator: And her mother took off to play Bingo.
Zinnia: Soup is on the stove. Heat it up if you get hungry.
[As each of the Wormwoods leave, Matilda watches]
Narrator: Matilda was left alone. And that was how she liked it.

Harry: Bye!
Zinnia: Ciao! There's fish fingers in the microwave.
Narrator: The next morning, after has parents left, she set off in search of a book.

Harry: Any packages come today?
Matilda: Mm-mm.
Harry: Where'd all this come from?
Matilda: The library.
Harry: "The library"? You never set foot in the library. You're only four-year-old.
Matilda: I'm six-and-a-half.
Harry: You're four!
Matilda: Six-and-a-half.
Harry: If you were six-in-a-half, you'd be in school already.
Matilda: I want to be in school. I told you I was supposed to start school in September. You wouldn't listen.
Harry: [grabs Matilda by her arm and drags her out of her bedroom] Get up! Get up! Get out here. Give me that book. [Takes the book and throws it aside, briefly catching Michael's attention. Harry takes Matilda to their bedroom where Zinnia is applying peroxide in her hair.]
Harry: Dearest pie, how old is Matilda?
Zinnia: Four.
Matilda: I'm six-and-a-half, Mommy.
Zinnia: Five, then.
Matilda: I was six in August.
Harry: You're a liar.
Matilda: I wanna go to school.
[Zinnia snickers before Harry scoffs]
Harry: School. It's out of the question. Who would be here to sign for the packages? [He applies hair oil into his hair] We can't leave valuable packages sitting on the doorstep. Now go watch T.V. like a good kid. [Matilda begins to look upset and turns to leave the bedroom]
Zinnia: You know, sometimes I think there's something wrong with that girl.
Harry: Hm. Tell me about it.
[In the hallway, Michael begins to bully Matilda as she picks her book up]
Michael: Hey, dipface! [He throws some marshmallows at at Matilda, as she walks to her bedroom, ignoring her brother] Have a marshmallow. Have another marshmallow, dipface! Dipface! [She closes her door]

Matilda: Hi, Dad.
Harry: [very stern] Are you in this family? [Matilda does not answer] Hello! Are you in this family? [switches lamp off] Dinnertime is family time! What trash are you reading?
Matilda: It's not trash, Daddy. It's lovely. It's called "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville.
Harry: [shocked] Moby what? [angrily grabs the book and rips its pages out] This is filth! Trash!
Matilda: It's not mine! It's a library book!
Harry: Trash! [throws the book on the floor] I'M FED UP WITH ALL THIS READING! YOU'RE A WORMWOOD, YOU'RE GONNA START ACTING LIKE ONE! Sit up and look at the T.V.! [grabs Matilda's head, forcing her to watch T.V.]

Amanda: I scooped these up for you, Miss Honey.
Jennifer: Oh, how lovely. Thank you, Amanda. Okay, listen up, everybody. We have a new student with us today. This is Matilda Wormwood. I'd like sit over here Lavender. Now, you all remember. How

[Matilda and Jennifer walk past Trunchbull's house]
Jennifer: That's where Ms. Trunchbull lives.
Matilda: Why is there a swing?
Jennifer: A girl I know used to live in that house. [cut to a series of flashbacks] Her life was good and happy. When she was just 2 years old, her mother died. Her father was a doctor, and he needed someone to look after things at home. So he invited the mother's stepsister to come and live with him. But the girl's aunt was a mean person, who treated the girl very badly.
Matilda: The Trunchbull.
Jennifer: Yes. And worst of all, when the girl was five, her father died.
Matilda: How did her father die?
Jennifer: The police decided he killed himself.
Matilda: Why would he do such a thing?
Jennifer: No one knows. [cut back to present] The end is happier. She found a small cottage. She rented it from this lovely rhubarb farmer for just $50 a month, and she covered it in honeysuckle, and she planted hundreds of wildflowers, and she moved out of her wicked aunt's house, and she finally got her freedom.

[Matilda and Jennifer arrive at the cottage]
Matilda: This is the cottage from your story.
Jennifer: Yes.
Matilda: The young woman is you.
Jennifer: Yes.
Matilda: But then... [her eyes widen] No.
Jennifer: Yes. Aunt Trunchbull.



Narrator: And the Trunchbull is gone, never to be seen or heard from. Never to darken the doorway again.


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