Matilda

So, my eldest charge’s favourite movie in the whole world is Matilda. She hasn’t actually read the book, she’s just obsessed with the movie (its closely followed in popularity by the Witches, which she also hasn’t read). I have watched this movie around 10 – 12 times since arriving here, as well as watching it part the way through a few more times. I can understand an obsession with a movie or story (HP, anyone?), but I find the obsession with this particular movie hard to understand. I don’t like the movie. I love, love, love the book (of course), but I find the movie really ugly, broad and coarse, and not in a good way. Just in a ‘yuck’ way.
But, I’ve come to a mild appreciation of the film because, my eldest charge loves it. In fact, if anything is going badly, or if she is particularly tired, or the weather is particularly bad, a suggestion to sit down and watch Matilda is usually the go. I’ve become a fan of Matilda simply because she’s saved my behind so many times.
The copy my host family have is actually a very old VHS, which, for whatever reason, adds to the charm of watching it for my eldest girl. She has to watch it in my living room, as this is the only place with a video player, where she can draw all the curtains and ‘make it like a cinema’ and there’s something she likes about the act of rewinding the tape.
The only problem with watching the film, is that my eldest charge insists on me watching it with her, and she insists on talking all the way through the film. Even though I’ve seen the film many times, and know the book inside out, this drives me up the wall. I have a friend, who I love dearly and will not name, but I can’t go to the movies with her, or can only see films I don’t care about with her because she will sit next to me in the cinema, and 60 seconds into the film she will lean over and whisper, ‘Jenny… Jenny… who’s that?’ To which I will reply, ‘I don’t know.’ Her reply: ‘Oh.’ 60 seconds later, ‘Jenny… Jenny… why is he doing that?’ Me: ‘I don’t know. They haven’t explained it yet.’ Her: ‘Oh.’ 60 seconds later: ‘Jenny… Jenny… what’s happening now?’ Me: ‘I DON’T KNOW. MAYBE IF WE SIT HERE QUIETLY AND WATCH THE SCREEN, OVER THE COURSE OF THE NEXT TWO HOURS OR SO EVERYTHING WILL SOMEHOW BECOME CLEARER, BUT, HEY, I’M JUST GUESSING, NOW SHUT UP.’ Let this be a warning to all of you. Do not talk to me during a movie.
Anyway, my eldest charge doesn’t ask these sorts of questions. Well, actually, the bizarre thing is, she does, even though she has seen the film a billion times over. She even asks it about things that she has explained to me the day before. So, one day, she’s watching the film and saying, ‘Matilda is punishing her father by dying his hair blonde because he was mean to her.’ The next she’ll ask me, ‘Why is Matilda dying her father’s hair?’ I get the strange feeling she’s testing me. Like a teaching testing comprehension. ‘Now, Jenny did you listen to me yesterday? Why is Matilda doing this?’ Trying to see if I was actually listening to her the day before or if I was thinking about what colour to paint my toenails.
But, she goes on other bizarre tangents. She’s told me that she would probably be best friends with Matilda if Matilda was real (I resisted the urge to point out that she hates reading). She then went further and said that she and Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz) and Matilda would probably all be best friends and have heaps of fun together. I was unsure of the combination, but agreed anyway.
The last time we sat down to watch the movie, she started to ask questions like, ‘Do you think Matilda’s house is nice?’ ‘Which is nicer, Miss Honey’s cottage or Matilda’s house?’ ‘Are those knit curtains in Matilda’s house?’ (she’s obsessed with knit curtains) ‘Why do they have knit curtains in her house?’ ‘What sort of pillow do you think Matilda has?’ (Me: ‘What?’ Her: ‘What sort of pillow? Like, is it a feather pillow?’ Me: ‘I’ve no idea.’ Her: ‘I think its a feather pillow (pause). I really like her pillow (pause). Do you think I could get the same pillow?’) But the best bit was when she explained to me, very seriously, that Matilda’s powers of psychokinesis were not ‘real’, that she wasn’t actually using her eyes to move things, but that there were ‘tiny, tiny’ strings being used to move everything about. She then spent the end of the movie attempting to point out the strings to me. I couldn’t quite figure out if she meant the movie people were using strings to move objects about, or if Matilda the character was using strings to move the objects about. It was further confused when I made a comment about the actress playing Ms. Trunchbull being made to look extra ugly. Her reply? ‘What do you mean, someone’s playing Ms. Trunchbull?’ Me: ‘Well, she’s an actress.’ Her: ‘What do you mean?’ Me: ‘Well, she’s not real.’ Her: blank look. 

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2 Comments

Filed under Ireland, Random

2 responses to “Matilda

  1. You know, your charge might be on to something with that string theory! Isn't there something in the book about things reaching out of Matilda's eyes to push things about? Isn't that how she describes it to Miss Honey? Clearly, I have to re-read the book so I may continue to read WAY TOO MUCH into the ramblings of a child.
    Also, you need this http://www.bloomsburystore.com/childrens/gifts_childrens/roald_dahl_mug_-_matilda.htm

  2. Ha! I'd forgotten about that with the strings and the book. I will have to re-read it myself now!

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