What child of the ’90s doesn’t remember the infamous scene in the movie Matilda involving chocolate cake? It took me quite a while to get the taste for chocolate cake back after watching the horrible Miss Trunchbull make the young boy reluctantly scarf down the whole cake as a punishment. Then there were Matilda’s cringe-worthy parents who seemed disgusted by her intelligence and gentle nature. She definitely did not seem to “fit” in her family.
When the movie Matilda came out in 1996, it brought the Roald Dahl book to life with its bright colors and incredibly eccentric characters. Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman played Matilda’s rough around the edges parents who seemed dumbfounded at Matilda’s affinity for reading and love for others. They tried their best to pull her down but simply failed to succeed. This led to the decision to enroll her in school after meeting with the larger — and more atrocious — than life principal, Agatha Trunchbull. At school, Matilda meets the beautiful and adoring Miss Honey who immediately recognizes the worth and wonder in her. While the story includes many horrible run-ins with Miss Trunchbull and her quest to instill discipline into the children at any cost, Miss Honey makes Matilda feel empowered and alive for the first time.
Though Matilda seems to have come from an entirely different family due to their extreme contrast, it is simply a story of nature over nurture. Her family is very much her family, though her mother later remarks she wishes she could have understood her daughter better. She was simply unlike her family, to which many can relate and is part of what makes this movie such a classic. Matilda was part of her biological family for most of her childhood but finds herself in an adoption journey very suddenly later in the movie.
It comes as no surprise that Matilda’s parents later find themselves in legal trouble for their criminal activities, forcing them to flee the country. While they intend to take Matilda with them, they very quickly realize that this might be their opportunity to do one right thing. Matilda flees to Miss Honey and begs her to let her stay. Not only does Miss Honey let Matilda stay, but she agrees to become Matilda’s home forever through adoption. Though with some reluctance, Matilda’s parents sign the adoption papers, securing her new life with Miss Honey. Other circumstances — that I won’t spoil if you haven’t seen the movie — allow Matilda and Miss Honey to begin anew in all aspects of their lives as a new family.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five, she has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on Facebook.