It’s always difficult turning a beloved book into a big screen movie. Not only do you have to do justice to the original author and their work, but it’s equally important to not completely screw up a story that millions of readers have come to love. The very magic of books is that you get to use your imagination to create your own version of the world that the author presents to you, and not everyone will have the same exact vision in their heads (see: Hermione). So when it comes to adapting novels into movies, there’s a fine line between disaster and huge success.
Luckily, we think the film version of Matilda falls into the latter category, and presented us with a magical world that was still grounded in reality, and appealed to us both as 10 years olds and 30 year olds rewatching the film in present day (PS: it’s Molly’s 30th birthday TODAY!). Here are some of our favorite aesthetics from the outstanding adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic that lived up to the images in our head, and in some cases, even surpassed them.
TBH, the entire pancake scene is our aesthetic, but I love this little touch Matilda adds when she sits down to eat breakfast by herself. I’ve never even done this and I am an “adult”.
Despite Wormwood Motors being a complete sham, I love how many colors the production designer and director Danny DeVito incorporated into this look. It actually seems like a reputable business, which is exactly what Mr. Wormwood wants you to think.
I was never one to make headbands out of satin ribbon, but I always admired those who did. This tells us a couple things about Matilda: she learned how to do this herself, because her mom certainly wasn’t going to teach her. And second, she’s the type of kid who takes pleasure in taking her time. A lot of people wouldn’t spend the extra minute to perfect their hair accessory, but Matilda appreciates even the smallest things in life, something we can all aspire to do.
Because who doesn’t love a good solo dance party? This is why you have superpowers. For this alone.
Just kidding. Also use superpowers to have desserts come directly to your person.
I know the phrase iconic gets tossed around a lot but the blue peter pan collar dress with the red ribbon was iconic, no? A moment of appreciation for the costume designers: although some of the kids’ outfits look 90s in a GOOD way, they mostly stuck to a classic template that makes Matilda fresh and watchable 20 years later. I’d still dress a kid like this.
JENNIFER. HONEY. We talked a bit about her aesthetic here but the main thing is, again, the wardrobe department’s choice of classic designs. Also these glasses. All day long, these glasses.
The end of the movie where Matilda lives with Miss Honey and they both have a family and they’re all dressed down in their straw hats and overalls? And Send Me On My Way plays? And everything is going to be light and happy for them from now on? Is also our aesthetic. When I watch the movie as an adult, the last scenes always make me think of how Matilda’s life would be after moving in with Miss Honey – how awesome her high school years would be with a supportive parent to help her explore learning, and Matilda going back home during college breaks and having talks with Miss Honey as adults, and now-30-year-old Matilda doing whatever amazing things she’s doing, but always going home to catch up and opening her mail to find just-because cards from Miss Honey with, like, $5 in them.
Two reasons to have Matilda carry her books home in a wagon: (1) She had a LOT of books; (2) Children pulling wagons behind them is ADORABLE.
PS, Matilda has cute shoes.
Lavender (Kiami Davael) might be one of the cutest children ever but let’s take a moment to appreciate her very on-trend-for-2016 braided hairdo and also how darling children in glasses are. If I have children I hope they can’t see very well, because this is precious (JK if I have children I hope they can see well).
Some of the timeless appeal of Matilda’s set design is actually because it’s dated: this isn’t a 90s living room, it’s a pastiche of 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s middle-class garishness. Those people who replace the siding on their porch with shiny stone and their wooden banisters with elaborate wrought iron? That’s the Wormwoods.
We are nerds who truly enjoyed the beginning of school because that meant new school supplies. Matilda had a composition notebook ready to go before her dad even told her she was going to school for the first time. This is our kind of gal.