Matilda: Why This Netflix Musical Film Is An Underrated Masterpiece (2023)

Matilda: Why This Netflix Musical Film Is An Underrated Masterpiece (1)

I love musicals. So much.

You could talk to me about them for hours and I would still have something to say by the end of the day. Whether it be good ol’ classic musicals, or modern musicals that feature amazing actors and actresses like the Hamilton cast, musicals are something that truly fill my heart with so much love and joy, which is why I need to talk about the 2022 Netflix film, Matilda the Musical.

Based on the stage production of the same name, Matilda the Musical released on the streaming platform in December 2022 to stellar reviews – except, it barely got the recognition that it so rightfully deserves. As someone who was a fan of the original, this was the best movie musical I had seen in a long time – and these are my reasons as to why you need to watch it right now.

Matilda: Why This Netflix Musical Film Is An Underrated Masterpiece (2)

The Music And Choreography Is So Great

Like, can we talk about this right now? The quality of the choreography literally makes me want to get out of my seat and dance.

This isn’t that surprising, as the stage musical was nominated for a Tony Award for its choreography, but I never really expected much from the actual movie version. Oftentimes, big dance sequences are toned down for movies since there isn’t a full stage to show everyone, but Matilda the Musical took its dance sequences to a whole new level and made my freaking day.

You can’t tell me you’re not dancing when “Revolting Children” comes on. That red-beret girl went viral on TikTok for a reason. It’s energetic, precise, and so well-done. And let’s not even get into the music, oh my God.

I cried about three times while listening to this soundtrack. Granted, I watched the film when I just got out of therapy, but it was still emotional as heck. You listen to “Naughty” and want to stand up for yourself when someone beats you down, or you listen to “When I Grow Up” and you think of the childhood innocence we all once had and what we wanted to be as adults. Every song, one after the other, is just beautiful.

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Alisha Weir Is A Fantastic Matilda – But The Rest Of The Cast Is Awesome Too

Casting Matilda in of itself is a bit of a daunting task. The first Matilda in the musical was actually Milly Shapiro, the same girl who went on to star in one of the creepiest horror movies, Hereditary. That’s right, that A24 horror film. But, with her time as Matilda, she had such a stage presence that it seemed impossible to find the right actress to replace her.

I have to say that Alisha Weir was a fantastic actress to play the lead. Not only did she capture the mysticality that Matilda is, but she also captured the sassy side as well, the side that I love, and how she’s willing to do anything for her friends. Truly amazing and awesome.

On the topic of the cast, all the Matilda the Musical actors did a great job. Lashana Lynch was an amazing Miss Honey, and I adored both Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as Matilda’s parents, even if no one can personally beat Danny DeVito from the first film. However, Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull – my God.

Thompson is in her villain era. She played the villain in the Cruella cast, now she's done the same here, and I need to see more of her. She’s absolutely amazing in these roles and was my favorite part of the movie.

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The Director Of The Broadway Musical Directed The Film – And You Can Tell

What I love the most about is that it reminded me so much of the stage production, and you can tell, because Matthew Warchus directed it – who also happens to be the director from the Broadway show as well.

He created a movie that felt like it was taken directly off the stage. During the “School Song” sequence, I could swear I was moving from set to set with every new lyric and everything felt as if it was a moving part of a whole stage production. It was filmed so incredibly well with the camerawork, and made you want to be on the edge of your seat the whole time.

If we’re being honest, Matilda the Musical reminded me a lot of Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story, where many of the big moments felt as if they were right from the stage. The camera work is so underrated in this movie.

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The Color Scheming Is On Point

Matilda the Musical is a very colorful musical, both in its bright and dark colors. You know when something bad is going to happen because the color gradient of the lights and the scheming of the background changes – such as when Miss Trunchbull enters. It’s the same way in the movie.

You know when something is going to super happy, or something will be super sad, and that’s all thanks to amazing color cues that we get from the makers of the movie. At the same time, even when colors are dimmer, the movie is still so vibrant. It’s as if it’s trying to say to the audience that even on your dark days, there’s still so much light to look for, and I love that.

It perfectly captures the story of Matilda, and it’s something that needs to be talked about more.

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It's Both A Great Coming Of Age Film And Fantasy Movie

You know, I sometimes forgot that Matilda the Musical is actually also a fantasy movie – and I love fantasy movies. But I also love that the fantasy aspect doesn’t take front and center really until halfway through the movie.

At its core, this is a coming of age story. Sure, it’s about a very young girl, not the typical age you would expect, but it’s still the same idea where it features a young girl trying to learn to stand up for her friends as well as what she believes in, not letting anyone tell her no. It even shows her standing up to her bratty parents, who constantly make her life a living hell. It’s a great lesson for kids to take away – never let anyone dim your sparkle or tell you that you’re not special, because you are. You just need to believe in yourself and have the perseverance to show it, just as Matilda did with her stories.

Only halfway through do we see her have telekinesis powers, but even then, it’s really just a push for her to help her friends stand up for themselves against Miss Trunchbull. It doesn’t take away from her character. And I adore that so much.

Matilda the Musical is a movie that I feel could have done really well if it didn’t come out in December. It was up against so many other things, such as Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, several Christmas movies, and of course, the box-office behemoth that was Avatar: The Way of Water. But I can at least give it the love it deserves here – and say please, please go watch it. It’s so worth the time.

Stream Matilda the Musical on Netflix.


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Alexandra Ramos

Content Producer

Big nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire. Will forever hate season eight. Superhero and horror geek. And please don't debate me on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!

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