Matilda (film)

1996 film directed by Danny DeVito

Matilda is in British in 1996 TriStar Home Entertainment Films fantasy comedy film about a young girl who is extremely smart and loves reading and 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 which allow her to control things with her mind.

  • No more Ms. Nice Girl.
  • [Harry: Young lady, where were you?] Miss Trunchbull kept the whole school late because a boy ate some chocolate cake.

Jenny

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  • Miss Trunchbull, I was the one who was at your house last night. I know that I… [Trunchbull: I broke your arm once before, I can do it again, Jenny.] I am not 7 years old anymore, Aunt Trunchbull.
  • I'd be happy to walk her home. [Zinnia: Well, nobody will be there. We're moving to Guam. Come on. Let's go.] Guam?
  • I need a car that is inexpensive, but reliable. Can you service me? [Harry: As a matter of speaking, yes. Welcome to Wormwood Motors. Harry Wormwood, owner, founder, whatever.] Agatha Trunchbull, principal, Crunchem Hall Elementary School. I warned you, sir. I want a tight car, because I'm on a tight ship. [Harry: Oh yeah, huh? Uh…] My school is a model of discipline. "Use the rod, beat the child." That's my motto. [Harry: Terrific motto.] Do you have any brats for yourself? [Harry: Yeah, I got a boy, Mikey, and one mistake, Matilda.] They're all mistakes, children. Filthy and nasty things. I'm glad I never was one. [Harry: Uh-huh. Well, since you're an educator, I'm gonna make you a great deal.] You'd better. [Harry: Let's do business!]
  • Hop to, hippity-hop! The entire school will go to the assembly room, immediately. Sit!
  • Shut up! The entire school will stay 5 hours after school and copy from the dictionary. Any child who objects… will go straight into the choky… TOGETHER!
  • Why are all of these women married?! Mrs. D? Mrs. I? You're supposed to be teaching spelling, not poetry!
  • In this classroom, in this school, I am God!
  • You… will be put away in a place where not even the crows can land their droppings on you!

Dialogue

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[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 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 Wormwood: What a waste of time.
Zinnia Wormwood: And painful.
Harry: And expensive. $9.25 for a bar of soap?
Zinnia: Well, I had to take a shower, Harry.
Harry: $5,000? 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 named Michael Wormwood, Harry and Zinna's son 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 were not really very nice people. (I think.)
[The Wormwoods arrive at their home]
Harry: Get outta the street, little dodos!
[As Harry, Zinnia and 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 Wormwood: 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's on the stove. Heat it up if you get hungry.
[As each of the Wormwoods leave, Matilda watches]
Narrator: Matilda was left alone. That was how she liked it.

Harry: Bye!
Zinnia: Ciao! There's fish fingers in the microwave.
Narrator: The next morning, after her parents left, Matilda 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 4 years old.
Matilda: I'm 6½.
Harry: 4!
Matilda: 6½.
Harry: If you were 6½, 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: 4.
Matilda: I'm 6½, Mom.
Zinnia: 5, then.
Matilda: I was 6 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 TV 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! [throws some marshmallows at at Matilda, as she walks to her bedroom, ignoring him] Have a marshmallow. Have another marshmallow, dipface! Dipface! [She closes her door]

Harry: I'm great, and I'm incredible! Mikey, pencil and paper, in the kitchen.
Zinnia: Did we sell some cars today, honeydew?
Harry: We did! [air kisses his wife as Michael grabs a notebook and a pencil]
Zinnia: [as she, her husband and Michael walk to the table where Matilda, whose reading a book, is at] Does that mean I can get that new TV?
Harry: Yeah! Son, 1 day, you're gonna have to earn your own living. And it's time that you've learned the family business. Sit down, and write this down. [Michael sits down and starts writing] Alright. (Here we go.) The first car that your brilliant father sold cost $320. I sold it for $1,158. The second one costs $512. I sold it for $2,269.
Michael: Wait, Dad, you're going too fast.
Harry: Just write. (Now, where was I? Oh, yeah.) The third cost $68. I sold it for $999. And the fourth cost $1,100. I sold it for 7,839 big American boffos!
Zinnia: Harry! [kisses him]
Harry: What's my profit for the day?
Michael: Could you repeat the last one--?
Matilda: $10,265. [Harry, Zinnia and Michael stare at her] Check it if you don't believe me.
[The trio looks at paper]
Harry: You're a little cheat, and you saw the paper.
Matilda: From all the way over here?
Harry: [confused] Are you being smart with me? [angrily approaches Matilda, pointing at her] If you are being smart with me, young lady, you're gonna be punished.
Matilda: Punished for being smart?
Harry: (No.) For being a smart aleck. [bends over to her] When a person is bad, that person has to be taught a lesson.
Matilda: "Person?"
Harry: Get up! Get up! Get up! [grabs Matilda by her hair, and takes her to her room, shutting the 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 is this trash you're reading?
Matilda: It's not trash, Dad, it's lovely. It's called "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville.
Harry: [confused] 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, and it's time you started acting like one! Sit up and look at the TV! [grabs Matilda's head, forcing her to watch TV]

( instrumental music ends )

( children cheering )

Agatha Trunchbull: Quiet! Get to class before I throw you in the Chokey.
Matilda: Lavender, what's my teacher like?
Amanda: I scooped these up for you, Miss Honey.
Miss Jennifer "Jenny" Honey: Oh, how lovely. Thank you, Amanda. Okay. Listen up, everybody. Have a new student with us. Today, this is Matilda Wormwood.
Miss Jennifer "Jenny" Honey: We've been working on our two tables.

( kids claiming )

Miss Jennifer "Jenny" Honey: Okay. Let's do some together.
 
 
 
Miss Jennifer "Jenny" Honey: Execellent, you're been practicing.
 
 

[Nighttime, Zinnia watches a wrestling match on TV. Harry, pretend to be the announcer, imitates to wrestle with Michael. Sitting in the arm-chair, Matilda does her homework]
Harry: Whack to the belly! A smack in the face. Another smack in the face! Burns is hurt! He's on the rope, ladies and gentlemen!
[A doorbell is heard]
Harry: Saved by the bell! (Wait a minute.) The packages are at this hour?
Zinnia: Come here. [straightens her husband's hair with a hairbrush] OK.
[Harry answers the door to Jenny]
Jenny: Hello.
Harry: We don't give money, we don't like charities, and we don't buy raffle tickets. (Sorry. Come back next week.)
[Harry goes to rudely shut the door in Jenny's face, but Jenny herself stops him]
Jenny: Mr. Wormwood, I'm Jennifer Honey, and I'm Matilda's teacher.
[Matilda looks up from doing her homework]
Harry: What has she done now? (Excuse me one second.) [to Matilda] You! (Yes, you!) Go to your room, right now! Right now! Beat it!
[Matilda walks off]
Harry: [back to Jenny] Look, whatever it is, she's your problem now.
Jenny: [stopping Harry from closing the door again] No. There's no problem.
Harry: Then beat it. We're watching TV.
[Jenny stops Harry from closing the door once more, and glares at him]
Jenny: [sternly] Mr. Wormwood, if you think watching some rotten TV show is more important than your daughter, then maybe you shouldn't be a parent. Now, why don't you turn that darn thing off and listen to me?
[Harry sighs in frustration and in defeat]
Harry: Alright. Come on in. Let's get this over with. Mrs. Wormwood is not gonna like this. Come on, get it.
[Jenny finally enters the house]
Harry: Close the door. [Jenny obeys]

[Matilda and Jenny walk past Trunchbull's house]
Jenny: That's where Ms. Trunchbull lives.
Matilda: Why is there a swing?
Jenny: 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.
Jenny: Yes. And worst of all, when the girl was 5, her father died.
Matilda: How did her father die?
Jenny: The police decided he killed himself.
Matilda: Why would he do such a thing?
Jenny: 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 Jenny arrive at the cottage]
Matilda: This is the cottage from your story.
Jenny: Yes.
Matilda: The young woman is you.
Jenny: Yes.
Matilda: But then... [her eyes widen in realization] No.
Jenny: Yes. Aunt Trunchbull.

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

Cast

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