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Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical | 2022 | PG | – 1.4.3

content-ratingsWhy is “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” rated PG? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “thematic elements, exaggerated bullying and some language.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes many scenes of children being abused (physically and verbally), punished and threatened by adults (without injuries shown), a few scenes of magical occurrences where things are levitated and some items hit people, an off-screen explosion, many arguments, insults leveled at children, and some mild language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


A sometimes naughty little girl (Alisha Weir) has a series of adventures when she encounters mean adults and decides to write stories about them. Also with Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough and Emma Thompson. Directed by Matthew Warchus. [Running Time: 1:57]

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical SEX/NUDITY 1

 – Many men and women carry babies through a hospital and the camera cuts to a pregnant woman with a bulging belly as she tells a doctor she is not pregnant; she shouts in pain and the scene cuts to the woman and her husband taking home an infant, as the father complains loudly that it is not a boy.
 A woman wears a tight-fitting, clingy, low-cut dress that reveals cleavage. A woman imagines herself wearing a long dress while riding on a swing and we see up her skirt (her legs and underwear are visible).

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – Parents abuse and neglect their daughter for years and at age about 7, the girl has never attended school, although she is intelligent beyond her years; several scenes include all three family members screaming at one another and the father, who refers to the child as a boy and never uses her name, physically throws her into her bedroom and locks her in a few times; authorities come to the house and force the parents to enroll the child in a school. A man and a woman shout at each other and grab and struggle with each other.
 A school owned by an ex-Olympic hammer thrower is a dimly lit place where children ages 5-11 are frightened and unhappy; the owner states that she and teachers are there to crush children, not nurture them, and she says she wishes children would not exist. We hear that a woman grabs and stuffs children at whim into an isolation cell called Chokey, for punishment, and the cell is a wooden outhouse where we hear that the floor is covered with nails pointing up; we see the outhouse in the rain, covered with cobwebs, chains and padlocks and surrounded by barbed wire.
 A woman threatens to snap a young girl in two and later threatens to kill her (the girl just stares at her). A woman picks a girl up by the pigtails, swings her in a circle in the air several times, and throws her over a wall at the perimeter of a schoolyard; the girl climbs back over in a few minutes and looks uninjured. A woman pulls the ears of a 5-year-old boy out to his sides to about six inches, lets them snap back loudly, and the boy yelps.
 A young girl who is physically and emotionally abused at home retaliates by pouring a chemical into her father’s hair tonic; when he uses some, he screams and his hair turns green. A young girl puts glue around the headband inside her father’s hat and it sticks to his hair for several days. A woman threatens and verbally abuses a young girl at a school more and more until the child becomes so angry that she develops psychokinesis; she levitates her hat, then a ceramic drinking cup that hits the woman in the back of the head, and she later levitates the cup again and her teacher gasps at seeing it. A young girl runs into the rain one day and stares at the school’s isolation cell called Chokey until it shakes violently, and then she runs home; as she runs, we hear a “boom” off-screen and later hear that the structure was destroyed, and we hear that a woman bulldozed all the playground equipment (we see a pile of pipes).
 A woman forces children out into a rainstorm to exercise and we see them as they jog, run through mud, crawl through mud when the rain stops; the woman picks up a child and throws him down to the ground, without visible injury, she forces the children to run an obstacle course through mud and over small obstacles as she ignites small explosions on the course several times by remote control (we see clouds of smoke and hear muffled “booms,” but no one appears hurt).
 A young girl tells a woman a story about an acrobat and an escape artist and a new act they plan: the woman will wear lighted TNT in her hair and fly from a trapeze over sharp items on the floor, and will be caught when her husband breaks chains binding him as he hangs upside down; however, the husband cancels the performance because his wife is pregnant and the crowd cheers, the circus owner demands the act proceed or the couple will go to jail and in the girl’s original story ending, the woman falls and breaks every bone, has a baby in the hospital, but dies, and in the final version, the woman is caught successfully by her husband, who tosses the TNT into the air, and it explodes but harms no one.
 A teacher says her wicked step-aunt probably killed her father; the woman raised her, but took possession of the father’s house and assets and when the girl became a teacher and wanted to leave, the step-aunt presented her with a large bill dating back to when the woman first moved in to care for the child. A woman is verbally abusive to another woman and we hear that she is her step-aunt; a flashback shows a woman as a young girl, lying in a basement where a woman threw her (she was not injured) and her father rescued her. We hear but do not see that a woman threw a young boy out an upper story window.
 A young girl yells at a woman when the woman sentences a child to a dangerous isolation cell for failing to spell a long word that does not exist (like the “I am Spartacus” movie scene, each of the other dozens of children stands and misspells actual words and insists upon going to the isolation cell that can hold only one child); the woman lowers a dark curtain as its sandbags hit the floor loudly and raise dust, to show dozens of similar isolation chambers lining all the walls of the room. A young girl levitates chalk and writes a note to a woman on a chalkboard, implying that the woman killed her brother-in-law and another child shouts, “It’s a ghost,” as many large chains rise and form a humanoid that surrounds the woman, makes her hair into pigtails, grabs them, swings her around in circles, and throws her out of the building and over the roof; the woman falls, hovers a bit over the ground, lands unharmed and runs away. Many children put ropes around a statue of a woman in front of a school and pull it down; it thuds and falls into pieces. In a fantasy sequence, a 5-year-old boy rides a motorcycle, a young girl drives a bus, and several young boys fly airplanes.
 A man tears up a library book and throws it on the floor hard in front of his daughter. A baby burps and another baby punches babies on either side of him in a bed. A boy flatulates outside a school. A young boy burps loudly for several seconds in a lunchroom and a woman forces him to eat an entire 3-tier chocolate cake that is larger than he is. A woman drinks water from a cup that contains a small lizard, sees the creature, and yelps as it slips down her neck and ends up in her tights; she shouts and hops around until she gets it out. A young girl has a cast on her arm throughout the film. A young boy says he has a headache from looking at a math equation. A father shouts that he must move his family to avoid a man he cheated in business.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical LANGUAGE 3

 – 1 scatological term, 2 mild anatomical terms, 3 mild obscenities, name-calling (mostly by adults directed toward children ages 5 to 11: maggots, maggitum [maggot], idiots, stupid, criminal, gangster, evil, evil incarnate, revolting little blood-worm, troublemaker, gripey gremlins, repellent imps, hobgoblins, nasty little troublemaker, nasty little creep, lousy little worm, jeeped-up germ, cheat, bore, weak, tiny, itchy, insignificant, pathetic, pigtails, mad, junk, snottery, snot-ball, bookworm, bully, monster, hairy stinky), exclamations (flaming, shut your pie hole). | profanity glossary |

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical SUBSTANCE USE

 – A man and a woman each hold a Martini (they do not drink), and a man mixes and pours two Martinis and we see him open a bottle of what looks like gin or vodka (no one is shown drinking).

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Child abuse, mental illness, fear, sadness, loneliness, anger, psychokinesis, imagination, storytelling, courage, kindness, friendship, poetic justice.

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical MESSAGE

 – Child abuse causes long-term mental illness, but survivors can take control of their lives.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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