It's pretty incredible how the passage of time can bring about whole new perspectives, which allow you to catch things that slipped beyond your notice before. One of my favorite pastimes is to watch the TV shows and movies of my childhood and realize all the jokes and details that went over my head as a kid. Earlier this week, I was watching Matilda, and I was shocked at just how many intricacies of the movie escaped my attention when I was a kid. Matilda is a pretty fantastical film; after all, it is about a freakishly smart little girl who discovers her uncanny magical brain powers. There were so many things that you too probably didn't notice the first time around.
Like, for example, just how much of a sadist the Trunchbull is. I knew she was the villain and all, but I never really thought about the fact that she is partaking in aggressively illegal behavior in how she treats her students.
Though there aren't too many shocking twists or dirty jokes in Matilda, there are so many things that the movie normalized that are in reality pretty strange and/or disturbing. In case you haven't seen it in a while, here are a few things in Matilda that you probably didn't think about when you were younger.
Her Dad's Crooked Business Tactics Are Seriously Messed Up
I remember watching the scenes with Harry Wormwood at work and thinking "wow, this guy is resourceful." Making the numbers on the car go backwards seemed like a pretty cool trick. It took watching this as an adult to realize why Super Super Gluing a bumper on was such a skeezy business move.
Low-Key Child Abuse
So the Trunchbull was a meanie, and just an all-around terrifying lady. However, it never really struck me as a child that she was, in fact, a pretty cut-and-dry child abuser. She has a torture chamber called "The Chokey" which has a placard on the door that states "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Yikes.
The Wormwoods Are Oddly Chill With A Stranger Adopting Their Daughter
They peace out with hardly a thought to the fact that they are leaving their daughter with a stranger. I never found this weird as a kid, but watching it as an adult, you'd think they would have some reservations about abandoning their child.
That School Is A Lawsuit Waiting To Happen
Where is the school board regulating this festering cesspool of child abuse? The headmaster holds an assembly to publicly humiliate a student, forcing him to gorge himself on cake to the point of physical illness. Something tells me that Bruce Bogtrotter's parents would be contacting their lawyer to file a hefty lawsuit after that cake incident.
Matilda Has Magical Powers And No One Questions This At All
Why isn't anyone like "Hey, Matilda has weird magical powers. What's going on here? Should she see a doctor? Is her house made of radioactive waste?" In real life, I'm pretty sure Matilda would be branded a freak or an evil witch by her classmates. But no one seems to mind. Miss Honey sees Matilda's powers and is essentially like, "Wait, what? That's strange, but whatevs." Matilda's classmates straight up DGAF. As long as she's giving the Trunchbull a hard time, she could probably morph into a centaur and no one would pay her any mind.
Matilda's Dad Should Have Utilized Matilda's Smarts For His Business
Matilda is super observant and incredibly (and abnormally) smart. She adds up those crazy sums at the kitchen table without batting an eye. She's also the first to notice the FBI is watching the house (and she even goes out of her way to divert them). If her dad was smarter, he would have taken her under his wing instead of her dolt of a brother. Matilda could have been a great help, either in making his business a more legal success or even in making his criminal activities less traceable.
Adults Are Almost Exclusively Terrible In This Film
With the exception of Miss Honey (who you could argue is experiencing a delayed adolescence due to the trauma she experienced as a child), basically every adult featured in Matilda is morally and ethically corrupt. They are almost entirely deluded, too wrapped up in their own lives to realize what terrible people they are. The only redeeming characters in the film are the children. Though they might display childlike tendencies at times, the children of Matilda, particularly Matilda and Lavender, are wise beyond their years, and abide by a stronger moral and ethical code than their adult counterparts.
Images: Jersey Films; Giphy (8)