Movie review: The Secret Garden: A classic recreated

By Nirupa Mohan Dore | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 24 2020
Teen inc Movie review:  The Secret Garden:  A classic recreated

By Nirupa Mohan Dore   Ceylon Today Features

The newest remake of the fantasy drama film adaptation based on the popular 1911 novel, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, tells the story in a fresh new light. The movie reimagines the classic British story, set in 1947 England, supported by modern day filmmaking technology. 

The film created for a new generation of viewers, with the tagline “Unlock your imagination,” marks the fourth film adaptation of the classic novel to date, this time staring Dixie Egerickxin the lead role, as Mary Lennox, a young orphan, while Colin Firth plays the role of her uncle, Archibald Craven. 

Edan Hayhurst plays the role of his son, Colin Craven, a boy who has had constant health problems and is in pain. The film also stars Julie Walters as Mrs. Medlock, Isis Davis as Martha, and Amir Wilson as Dickon.  

The classic story once again delivered with a magical garden as its key title attraction, focuses on young Mary, who after the sudden death of her parents, is placed in her uncle Archibald Craven’s care, at his remote Yorkshire moors country estate. The plot centres on Mary, who is battling with her own emotions, as she discovers a magical garden that is hidden nearby and the secrets it holds, when she explores the surroundings of her new home. 

The film focuses on calmly paced storytelling, as it tries to set the tone, managing to show viewers what Mary is going through early in the film, with flashbacks of her parents, and feeling neglected. Though the film has fantasy and magic, it highlights the pain she feels and is content heavy, especially when she meets her cousin, whose mother died in the secret garden, keeping in mind that her uncle is a grieving widower.

The film makes the same impact, that is similar to its previous remakes, including the 1911 novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, but though it is the same title once again, each of the several film adaptations through the years make it feel like each filmmaker adds their own point of view. This time the film delivers several emotional elements that consistently change, with glimpses of her past that worry her, while every time she walks into the garden, with vivid colour and magic, it lifts her spirits.

The 100-minute film by director Marc Munden, was created by the producers behind Paddington (2014), Paddington 2 (2017) and the popular Harry Potter film series, Rosie Alison and David Heyman. Made in collaboration with production companies Heyday Films and Studio Canal, the film was made with a budget of 20 million dollars and managed to rake in 4.4 million dollars at the worldwide box-office, in an entertainment industry that is heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic around the world. Rated 64 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes, 62 per cent on Metacritic and 5.5/10 on IMDb, the film has received generally positive critic, with many appreciating the acting ability of the lead cast, who portrayed their individual characters with precision. 

Though the movie is creative and makes the same emotional impact that its predecessors made, it feels like it drags out at times, regardless of its magical garden scenery that is supported by graphics. This is a film that some will enjoy, while others might find to be too emotionally heavy to appreciate.

By Nirupa Mohan Dore | Published: 2:00 AM Oct 24 2020

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