Emma Thompson in Matilda The Musical The Movie

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical The Movie Reviews starring Emma Thompson ★★★★

Matilda The Musical – The Movie opens this Friday, 25 November 2022, at cinemas across the UK.

Reviews are also in for the movie version of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, following its world premiere on 5 October 2022 in Leicester Square in London.

The movie marked the opening of this year’s BFI London Film Festival, and is based on the smash-hit West End show Matilda The Musical at the Cambridge Theatre.

Matthew Warchus brings to the screen the show he directed for the RSC in 2010, and which is still going strong in the West End. The screenplay by Dennis Kelly is based on his Tony-winning stage book, with Tim Minchin’s smash-hit score. 

An impressive cast includes Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as Mr and Mrs Wormwood, Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, and Alisha Weir as Matilda.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical – The Movie is in cinemas from 25 November 2022 in the UK, and 9 December 2022 in the US. The movie premieres on Netflix in the US on Christmas Day, 25 December. The exact Netflix date for the UK is to be announced.

Also check out the new trailer and poster for Matilda, and news about the new Matilda soundtrack.

Book tickets to the live stage show – Matilda The Musical – at the Cambridge Theatre in London

This article was originally published on 5 October 2022.

Average Critics Rating
★★★★

Matilda The Musical reviews

The Times
★★★

"Emma Thompson’s Trunchbull lifts an uneven film"

"The London Film Festival opened not with a bang but with an acknowledgment that the effectiveness of this energetic yet uneven Roald Dahl adaptation depends solely on Emma Thompson. The movie is a bracing illustration of the difficult gap that exists between a raucous Olivier award-winning musical and a two-hour film version that more easily exposes narrative incoherence, tonal inconsistencies and incomplete characterisations"

"Young kids will undoubtedly be wowed, while Thompson remains, invariably, the big draw."

Kevin Maher, The Times
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The Guardian
★★★★

"All-singing, hall-dancing adaptation is by the book brilliance"

"Story of superpowered schoolgirl gets a fresh, DayGlo take featuring lurid star turn from Emma Thompson"

"Emma Thompson and Tim Minchin make a very tasty combination in this DayGlo movie musical for the London film festival’s opening gala – amusing, exhilarating and the tiniest bit exhausting"

"Matilda is a tangy bit of entertainment, served up with gusto. Like the Wotsits and the Curly-Wurly shown in various scenes, it’s pretty moreish."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
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Variety

"Kids Win the Day in This Perky Adaptation, but Emma Thompson’s Trunchbull Is the Real Triumph"

"The stage hit makes it to screen on a buoyant cloud of high spirits and witty songcraft, though it hasn't quite enough movie musical dynamism to be a classic."

"Already based on one of his kindlier stories, “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” further softens matters by pruning the presence of its funniest adult grotesques to accommodate more child’s-eye exuberance. The long-late author probably would have grumbled; young viewers will be delighted nonetheless."

"By the time it cannily hits Netflix on Christmas Day, “Matilda” could well grow into a phenomenon — especially in Britain, to which the film has been uncompromisingly tailored"

"... it feels churlish to carp too much about a lively, likable film that sincerely celebrates youthful imagination and joy, and is surely to spark those qualities in a large proportion of its audience — even if it’s most fun when it’s least inspirational."

Guy Lodge, Variety
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BBC

"Film brings out Dahl's dark side"

"The film adaptation of the stage musical based on Roald Dahl's novel is nearly 'the year's most disturbing gothic horror movie'"

"As close to Stephen King as it is to Dahl, it's only a couple of tweaks away from being the year's most disturbing gothic horror movie."

"Its original director was Matthew Warchus, and he directs the film, too, but he doesn't make the common stage-to-screen mistake of recreating the live show moment by moment. Quite the opposite. He seems determined to make use of every cinematic technique possible, so he bombards the viewer with quick cuts, visual effects, elaborate stunts, complicated production numbers, countless locations, and – what the hell – a random giraffe."

Nicholas Barber, BBC
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The Evening Standard
★★★★

"The best moments are extraordinary"

"Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull will haunt your dreams"

"... this adaptation of the mega-successful West End show is brightly coloured – though full of darkness – exuberantly performed and inventively shot."

"Many adults will likely become a tad restless when Emma Thompson – as scary and batshit crazy headmistress Miss Trunchbull – is off screen. But for the under-12s, the movie offers one jolt of joy after another."

"The show’s naughty songs, thought up by Tim Minchin back in 2010, show no signs of ageing. Like the titular heroine, the ditties are touched by genius, with Miracle, The Hammer and The Smell of Rebellion the obvious standouts."

Charlotte O'Sullivan, The Evening Standard
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The Hollywood Reporter

"Emma Thompson Goes Big and Bad in Brashly Entertaining Netflix Adaptation"

"Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough round out the supporting cast with Alisha Weir in the title role in this film based on the stage musical, premiering at the London Film Festival."

"If it weren’t for the fact that it all unfolds in a world full of whimsy, chocolate cake and magical children who can read William Faulkner and Jane Austen novels before they start Kindergarten, the story would end up with social workers and charges of child abuse."

"Where the inelegantly but undoubtedly quite specifically titled Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical really makes its bones is in the big showstopping numbers like ‘School Song’ and ‘Revolting Children,’ in which the ensemble of tightly rehearsed tykes get to strut their stuff."

Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter
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Deadline

"It is an absolute blast"

"From the moment it begins, with a series of glowingly lit babies in cribs “singing” about how their besotted parents think they’re all geniuses, it is clear that Warchus and the team have not merely adapted the theater musical but rethought it, top to bottom. Clever staging gives way to visual extravagance."

"Without exception, the actors leap across the same bar. Everyone is turned up to a glorious eleven."

"Not to detract from anyone else’s good work, but Minchin’s spiky, precise numbers, their lyrics clear and lacerating even in the mass choruses, are key to Matilda’s enduring magic. As a scripted adaptation of Dahl’s story, Matilda in both its stage and screen versions would be poignant, pointed and fun. But with Minchin’s lyric lines as arabesques around the scenes, the constant surprises in his rhyming and the explosions of orchestration that give the big numbers such impact, it is something else. Does Tim Minchin have so many brains they’re coming out of the ends of his fingers? Anything seems possible."

Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline
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The Telegraph
★★★★★

"Emma Thompson gives Matilda The Musical a deranged villain to remember"

"Miss Trunchbull rules this film, adapted from the musical based on Roald Dahl’s novel – but 13-year-old lead Alisha Weir is one to watch too"

"Minchin’s perky musical numbers are all performed with due wit and welly"

"In bringing the story out of the theatre, Warchus and his art department have also scaled up the narrative in all kinds of inspired ways. The Trunchbull’s gymnastics class, for instance, now takes place not indoors but on a rain-lashed assault course, complete with landmines. And in a fantastical climax that has Matilda telekinetically manipulating much more than a lone stick of chalk against the headmistress, the additional CG dazzle feels justified."

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
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The Sun
★★★★★

"Matilda the Musical is the best family movie since Paddington 2"

"Emma Thompson is glorious as headmistress from hell Miss Trunchbull, the English Hammer Throwing Champion 1959 who now takes to twirling pupils high into the sky via their pigtails."

"Plaudits also go to newcomer Alisha Weir in the title role and Bond actress Lashana Lynch as Matilda's kindly teacher Miss Honey, whose on screen chemistry delivers an emotional punch."

"I could watch the huge choreographed numbers, set to comedian Tim Minchin’s whip smart lyrics and songs again and again."

Grant Rollings, The Sun
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Daily Mail
★★★★★

"This magical Matilda is pitch perfect... even Roald Dahl would be delighted"

"Matilda The Musical fully deserves to join it in the pantheon of great children's films. I'm sticking my neck out, but I reckon it would even have delighted the notoriously dyspeptic, hard-to-please Dahl himself."

"Matilda The Musical is a joy from beginning to end, exquisitely written, acted and choreographed, and an early indication that the streaming giant Netflix did not overpay last year when it forked out an eye-popping $500million (£440million) for Dahl's back catalogue."

"... Warchus uses the camera to give the story, about a girl prodigy who uses telekinetic powers to outsmart an evil headmistress, a whole new energy. It works gloriously on screen."

"Three cheers to everyone involved, but perhaps above all to Roald Dahl, who in dreaming all this up, gave other amazingly creative people the chance to build on his mighty legacy."

Brian Viner, Daily Mail
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The Independent
★★★★

"A frothy, whimsical delight"

"The musical of Roald Dahl’s classic book is so intrinsically British it will soon be absorbed into the Paddington cinematic universe"

"The Matilda we get here, then – formally titled Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical – is a frothy, whimsical delight that encompasses every expectation we were bound to have already placed on it. It’s intrinsically British enough that I half expect it to be soon absorbed into the Paddington cinematic universe."

Clarisse Loughrey, The Independent
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i News
★★★

"Emma Thompson is terrifying in this fun family romp"

"The starry adaptation of the hit West End stage musical is exactly what you’d expect: a serviceable screen adaptation of a vastly popular stage play"

"Unfortunately, at times Warchus goes too far in the other direction to make the musical look “cinematic”, when flashy camera movement only distracts from or undermines the (often child) performers doing their song and dance routines. A little bit of stillness might have given the film a more solid anchor, and viewers a chance to really take in the fun details of so many of the musical numbers."

"As it goes, Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical is exactly what you’d expect and little more: a serviceable screen adaptation of a vastly popular stage play, and that alone should be catnip to the audiences who’ll want to seek it out."

Christina Newland, i News
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📷 Main photo: Emma Thompson in Matilda The Musical The Movie


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