I often fascinate how Roald Dahl so wonderfully captured the imagination of the child spirit. Matilda was like a Bible to me growing up. She was so wonderfully brilliant and sweet and pure and full of good intentions. But was always told she was wrong, she was stupid, she was just a child. I guess that’s how I felt growing up. I had to seek out my own therapy for christ’s sake. No religious, no real parental control or guidance, mostly alone in my own world. I had to invent it. Nobody was there guide me. The sad part of my story aside from Matilda’s troubled little mind. She found Miss Honey at a young age.
On a meta level, the entire story. This is a movie about two people who grew up in horrifically abusive households—one whose biological parents neglected her and mentally and emotionally abused her, and one whose parents loved her very much but died, and who was effectively fostered into a physically and emotionally abusive household. Both are very strong young women, who are intelligent and capable and powerful—but whose guardians terrify them and who remain under said guardians’ care because they are afraid. They are not demonized or chastised or portrayed as weak because of it, because their fears are realistic. This is a movie where those guardians were wrong. There’s no message that “we loved you but didn’t know how to show it”; at no point is it implied that “You have to love them, they’re your family”. It’s not a case of “pity the bully, because they’re victims too!” No. They are abusive, they are cruel, and they are wrong. And at the end, Matilda escapes from her abusive guardians and finds a true family, with someone who loves her. Miss Honey, as an adoptive single mother, is portrayed as Matilda’s true family because she loves her. Just imagine being a child in a neglectful or abusive household, and seeing that kind of message in a popular movie for the first time…
- Yet another level: The “Would your parents believe you?” “…No” aspect of the film. Just because nobody believes your stories of abuse, just because you’re not taken seriously because you’re just a kid, that doesn’t make you a liar.”
I didn’t even believe my own stories of abuse. They were discredited after I was sent to a play therapist when I was three for hiding under a blanket and setting it on fire. I wasn’t disturbed at all right?? Because they were right and I was wrong. I just needed a family who actually loved me. God, I am one tortured son of a bitch and I do it all to myself.