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See the world from a kid's-eye view with Matilda, a modern fairytale that mixes hilarious humor with the magical message of love. Mrs. Doubtfire's Mara Wilson stars as Matilda, a super-smart little girl who's woefully misunderstood by her parents Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, her brother, and an evil school principal. But with the help of a brave best friend and a wonderful teacher, Matilda discovers she doesn't have to get mad to get even.
Danny DeVito's adaptation of the Roald Dahl book for children is mostly just fine, helped along quite a bit by the charming performance of Mara Wilson Mrs. Doubtfire as young Matilda, a brilliant girl neglected by her stupid, self-involved parents DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Ignored at home, Matilda escapes into a world of reading, exercising her mind so much she develops telekinetic powers. Good thing, too: sent off to a school headed by a cruel principal, Matilda needs all the help she can get. DeVito takes a highly stylized approach that is sometimes reminiscent of Barry Sonnenfeld director of Get Shorty, a DeVito production, and his judgment is not the best in some matters, such as letting the comic-scary sequences involving the principal go on too long. But much of the film is delightful and funny. --Tom Keogh