Synopsis of Movie

“They're all mistakes, children. Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one.”

For all the kiddie conspiracy theorists out there, Matilda offered ample evidence the big people really were out to get them. Roald Dahl’s children’s novel came to the big screen in 1996 with its dark comedy still intact, its villains still villainous. This was not your mother’s children’s movie.

The title character is the neglected daughter of used car salesman Harry Wormwood and his bingo-playing wife Zinnia. The grouchy Wormwoods would rather watch “The Million Dollar Sticky” on television than help Matilda learn to read, so the girl strikes out on her own, trotting down to the library as a four-year-old, devouring Hemingway and Dickens by the time she’s six. The next logical step is school, a move Harry opposes because, “Who’d be here to sign for the packages?”

The shady salesman changes his tune when he sells a lemon to Crunchem Hall’s headmistress Agatha Trunchbull (picture a Valkyrie in an S.S. uniform), a woman who shares Harry’s disdain for children. Crunchem is an even more unpleasant place than home, but Matilda finds a kindred spirit in sweet-natured young teacher Miss Honey. With Miss Honey’s support, and with the help of her newly-discovered telekinetic powers, Matilda just might be able to make the world a less frightening place for children.

Yes, it was dark, but so are Milk Duds, and they have sweet caramel centers. So did Matilda, at heart a story about a little girl who just wanted to learn. Harry, Zinnia and especially Miss Trunchbull were all scary, but in a cartoonish way.

Even the children were somewhat off-kilter, their freckled faces and thick eyeglasses a welcome alternative to the apple-cheeked tykes in most children’s films. Matilda may not have been your mother’s children’s movie, but Roald Dahl would have been proud.

Movie Release History

1996 - Matilda

Movie Sub Categories


Movie Studio

TriStar, Jersey Films


Matilda Wormwood Mara Wilson
Harry Wormwood Danny DeVito
Narrator Danny DeVito
Zinnia Wormwood Rhea Perlman
Miss Jennifer Honey Embeth Davidtz
Agatha Trunchbull Pam Ferris
FBI Agent Paul Reubens
FBI Agent Tracey Walter
Michael Brian Levinson
Miss Phelps Jean Speegle Howard
Matilda, 4 years Sara Magdalin
Roy R.D. Robb
Luther Gregory R. Goliath
Waiter Fred Parnes
Lavender Kiami Davael
Julius Rottwinkle Leor Livneh Hackel

Other Movie Links