The Secret Garden 1993

The Secret Garden (1993) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Marc Munden. Cast: Dixie EgerickxRichard HansellDavid Verrey 

A charming, evocative and delightful adaptation from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s gothic children’s book from 1911. Like all the best children stories, it a has a timeless feel, matched by some old-style film-making, elegant, unhurried and free from any distracting special effects (which have destroyed the latest adaptation with Colin Firth and made it a real mess!).

The film is produced by Francis Ford Coppola and beautifully photographed by Roger Deakins who effortlessly makes the corridors of the house dark and dusty and the secret garden from the title sunny and warm in contrast with the windy and gray Yorkshire Moors. But the real success of the film is in the performances from the 3 children. After seen so many Harry Potters movies I had almost forgotten what really good performances from children are. They act their age, the behave like spoilt brats and yet by the end you’ll be completely won over.

And then of course Maggie Smith who can do no wrong in my eyes even when she plays an hateful person (though… spoiler alert, she’s such a lovely person that not even the film-makers can do without a little redemption for her at the end)

I remember reading a review of this film at the time that said “The summer of 1993 will be remembered as the time when every child in the world wanted to see “Jurassic Park.” The lucky ones will see this one, too”. I’m so happy I was able to show this one to my 8 years old son, even before Jurassic Park. He loved it. At the end he asked me “How many stars?”. I answered “3 and 1/2? 4”. He seemed disappointed “No, let’s say 5” he suggested.

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