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Review Roundup: MATILDA THE MUSICAL Movie Premieres at the BFI London Film Festival

Review Roundup: MATILDA THE MUSICAL Movie Premieres at the BFI London Film Festival

Matilda will be released on Netflix on December 25.

The new film adaption of Matilda the Musical premiered today at the BFI London Film Festival.

A brand new take on the Tony and Olivier award-winning musical. Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical tells the story of an extraordinary girl, with a vivid imagination, who dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results.

The film stars Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Andrea Riseborough and Stephen Graham, plus new comer Alisha Weir as Matilda.

Directed by Tony Award-winning director Matthew Warchus (Matilda The Musical), the film is produced by Eric Fellner and Tim Bevan for Working Title, Jon Finn (Billy Elliot), and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company. Screenwriter Dennis Kelly adapts the Royal Shakespeare Company's production for the big screen, with original music and lyrics by Tim Minchin.

Before the film comes to theaters on December 9 and Netflix on December 25, read what critics thought of the highly-anticipated movie musical below! Check back later for updates as more reviews continue to be released.


Guy Lodge, Variety: "Warchus' film mostly thrives on what already worked on stage: the speedy lyrical wordplay and energetically shouty delivery of Minchin's songs, the deliberately heavy-footed stompiness of Peter Darling's choreography and the booming pantomime presence of its villain and, let's be honest, star attraction. Relishing a role conventionally played in drag on stage, hulking into each of her scenes with enhanced arms akimbo, Thompson is entirely a scream."

Stephanie Bunbury, Deadline: 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."

Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter: "Emma Thompson offers up a master class in threading the needle while still under a ton of uglifying latex (bringing back happy memories of her Nanny McPhee franchise). Having a great year with this as well as her turn in Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Thompson even manages to inject a tiny sliver of humanity into the film's chief villain, Miss Trunchball, especially with her dulcet rendition of 'Hammer.'"

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "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."

Nicholas Barber, BBC: "Every one of the novel's key episodes has been intertwined, and every one of its quiet, thoughtful interludes has been removed. Minchin's wordy songs have that relentlessness, too: they tend to convey more about how clever he is than they do about the characters' feelings. But, even accounting for the musical's book and music, it does feel as if Warchus has made every aspect of the production as full-on as possible - and that includes the nastiness."

Nikki Braughn, Screen Daily: "Matilda's fight against authoritarianism is further explored in lavish song and dance numbers, with eye-popping choreography by Ella Kane performed by an enthusiastic cast. Like Dahl, Tim Minchin has a gift for blending the horrible and the humorous so that neither overwhelms the other, and his songs confront difficult moments rather than attempt to gloss over them."

Clarisse Loughrey, Independent: "There's no attempt to improve on the Tony-winning stage adaptation's source material, written by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly; it only wants to translate its spirit faithfully ... 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."

Charlotte O'Sullivan, Evening Standard: Warchus' wonderful 2014 movie Pride was a more consistently involving affair. But that he and the rest of the Matilda the Musical team have kept so much of the show's bite remains impressive. The best moments are extraordinary and Thompson's Trunchbull will haunt my dreams, quite possibly for ever."

Shannon Connelian, Mashable: "Warchus and Kelly bring their stage savvy to big ensemble numbers like the apricot and aqua-painted opener "Miracle" and the big, brash, throw-everything-into-the-air finale, "Revolting Children." The jaw-droppingly clever stage favourite "School Song" features crisp choreography performed by the young cast, charging in unison at the camera during zooming hallway runs and translating the stage version's exceptional alphabet sequence to a practical run of the school's classroom doors."

Ella Kemp, IndieWire: "The new film is as faithful as can be to the stage musical, with performances bursting with earnest energy and holding peerless faith in that clever little girl. But both versions of "Matilda the Musical" lose sight of the original spikiness of Dahl's book."

Katie Smith-Wong, Flick Fest: "Although its faithfulness to the original stage production may leave audiences debating its cinematic translation, Matilda highlights wonderful performances and brilliantly executed musical numbers, continuing the success of musical film adaptations while prepping other shows such as Wicked and Beautiful for the big screen."

Chris Tilly, Dexerto: "There's lots of shouting, a bit of screaming, and portions where proceedings get pretty grim. But ultimately, Matilda is an inspiring tale of strength, determination, and sticking to your principles in the face of child-chucking evil, anchored by an assured performance by Alisha Weir as the precocious title character."

Jon Lyus, HeyUGuys: "[Warchus] adapts the stage musical with a lot of heart and a lot of colour. Though Matilda may be overtly saccharine; it is still charged with a vibrant energy that hits from the first song Miracle. It helps that there is a collective of young performers who really come together as the long-suffering students of the school. Warchus does what modern movie musicals are missing - allows the big, choreographed dance numbers to sit happily on the screen and come alive with the music, instead of cutting between many different close-ups."

Kevin Maher, The Times U.K.: 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."

Paul Heath, Hollywood News: "The world is skilfully adapted for the screen by the trio of Minchin, Kelly, and director Warchus, with the apparent addition of new works by its composer, and the film's lengthy two hours belts by at a relentless pace. The cast is exceptional, particularly its lead, Alisha Weir, who is a tremendous talent, outstanding in every scene."


Watch the teaser trailer for the new film here:

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