Matilda Movie Review

When I was a child I remember hearing my infant teacher read the BFG to our class. She used different voices and was totally enthralling. Every year I heard another of Dahl’s stories and I began to read them myself. Soon I became a massive Roald Dahl fan.

About ten years ago I went to see the Tim Minchin musical version of Matilda and it blew me away. So I had very high expectations when they announced that Netflix was making a film production of that very musical.

My Thoughts On Matilda

I remember Matilda being released as a book in 1988 and instantly loved it. In my job I regularly read this book and other wonderful stories aloud to a class and they always soak up the witty remarks and hilarious plots.

Emma Thompson as the Trunchbull has gone down really well. She has created a character who is terrifying, awkward and very amusing. Seeing her stomping around whilst singing clever and funny lyrics, dressed as a tall, staunch hammer thrower, makes this film perfect in my eyes.

Newbie child actor, Alisha Weir, is well cast as the lead role of Matilda and fits in well with an already stellar group of actors, including the kind and tuneful teacher, Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch). In keeping with the book, Matilda strikes up a friendship with her local librarian, who occupies a mobile library van in the film version.

Tiktok has gone crazy for one of the dance routines where the kids rampage down the corridors of their school, Crunchem Hall. As a musical, it is great, with a combination of sentimental, energetic and angry songs. Emma sings triumphantly in character and they all perform the lyrics live rather than miming to a prerecorded soundtrack.

In A Nutshell

Without giving too much away, it generally keeps to the original plot, with some additions to make it visually more stunning. The tiny details that Roald used are all there to be spotted and it even references several of his other stories at one point. Look out for a giraffe, a gypsy caravan (no doubt from Danny the Champion of the World) and a sweet nod to the BFG.

This musical is packed with fun, vibrant characters and incredible songs. I totally recommend checking it out at a cinema as it is just brilliant! Please follow my blog for similar future posts about books, films and the environment.

Heartstopper TV Show – Ground-breaking!

Always someone to welcome and encourage diversity, I am excited to write about the new Netflix series based on the incredible YA books written by Alice Oseman. It was definitely intriguing to see her work get picked up by Netflix but I was initially anxious that they may not represent it as wonderfully as she has.

Thankfully Netflix got Alice on board as script writer and producer during the making of the TV show and integrated some of her unique style into this brilliant take on LGBTQ romance. If you want to know more about the books, check my previous review of Heartstopper Book One here.

Heartstopper Review

This particular TV production was filmed last year in England and has been hotly anticipated ever since. Tiktok has always been fond of Alice Oseman’s best selling webcomic-turned book and the series trailers started to inspire a whole new set of inventive Heartstopper Tiktok videos right away.

Heartstopper tells the modern tale of a nervous, but likeable, Charlie Spring who is openly gay but pretty intimidated by the English equivalent of jocks (otherwise known as rugby players). Being asked to sit next to a slightly older rugby lad in class, Charlie is instantly smitten, despite that guy being apparently straight. Played by a newbie, Joe Locke, Charlie takes us on a journey through his crush.

Nick Nelson is the other lead character. As a charismatic lad who is in with the cool crowd, it surprises Charlie just how much interest in him he shows. Nick is played by Kit Connor who famously had the role of the young Elton John in the movie Rocketman.

Why is Alice Oseman so cool?

Alice originally published a book about Tori Spring, Charlie’s sister, in 2014 after signing a book deal at the age of seventeen. She followed this success with other novellas and, of course, a webcomic which was first put out weekly as a series of Tumblr cartoon strips.

Heartstopper illuminates Alice’s ability to shine a light on diversity in relation to LGBTQ issues without making the stories obscure. She has a way of handling such subjects with respect and cleverness, weaving them naturally into stories without making them seem awkward.

Following trans characters and topics such as confusion over sexuality, she has a way of making her characters very relatable and intriguing. I wish her material was around when I was younger as it would have made such a difference. It promotes acceptance and celebrates individuality.

So, in answer to my own question, Alice is cool because her stories grab readers and enable them to think carefully about these situations and feel more comfortable about their own feelings and insecurities.

The Heartstopper TV Show Itself

The director has a great way of capturing emotions and the actors are really well cast. It is a nice surprise to find out that Olivia Coleman has a guest role as Nick’s mum and it is also good to see Sebastian Croft (a young Ned Stark in Game of Thrones) playing the role of Ben, the guy who toys with Charlie’s affections while remaining safely in the closet.

Without giving too much away, this series of eight half an hour episodes is beautifully laid out with a well written script. The use of some cartoon images really adds a bit of extra Alice Oseman spark. For instance, colourful cartoon leaves float in and out of shot at key points in the episodes.

Summary

If you haven’t had time to check out this fresh and refreshing new Netflix phenomenon, what are you waiting for? It is great to see a series that discusses those issues that can consume you when growing up (and forever after). This show is a genuine heartstopper and is beautifully acted, in keeping with the thought-provoking feel good books of the amazing Alice Oseman.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article about Heartstopper TV Show. If you enjoyed the post, please drop a comment below and consider following my little blog for similar future content.

TV Shows – Some Recent Favourites

Every few weeks I do a little round up of the TV programmes that have currently got my attention. I am one of those people who likes to watch an episode or two each week rather than binge watching a whole series. From documentaries to comedies, dramas to thrillers, I have plenty of shows that currently take up my evenings.

Today I wanted to talk about three that entertain me in different ways. One is a discussion programme all about books. Another is a YA series set in the beautiful Austrian ski resort of Kitzbuhel. The third is another thriller from the makers of ‘The Stranger.’

Between the Covers (BBC Two/ BBC iPlayer)

Now in its third series, this BBC show is presented by the brilliant Sara Cox (of Radio 1 and 2 fame) and involves four celebrities discussing recently released books. Each week there is a featured new release which they all have to read and the author does a little reel about why they wrote it. The chat is honest and lively, really examining the book and then going on to talk about each celebrity’s favourite book.

Sometimes the panel bring in older books too, such as The Lord of the Rings, for example. Sara is good as maintaining a fast pace, while ensuring each publication is analysed in terms of setting, character development and relevance. If you want some quick reviews of widely release books then this is a good reference point.

Kitz (Netflix)

I stumbled upon this series because Netflix makes suggestions based on previous choices and I often watch programmes filmed in Europe. Kitz came up as a glitzy YA story set in the snowy town of Kitzbuhel, a popular ski resort in central Austria. At first I assumed it was an American production but then I realised it was dubbed. The dubbing was pretty excellent and as soon as I started watching it I forgot that the characters’ lips were not in sync with the audio.

A girl’s brother drastically plummeted off a cliff in his car, on the way to meeting his rich girlfriend. After a year, his sister (Lisi) wanted to find out who this misleading aristocrat (Vanessa) was and got a job as a waitress at one of her extravagant parties. The series began with the premise that his sister wanted some kind of revenge.

While she got more entwined in the rich girl’s Instagram crazy lifestyle, her old friend Hans was having a fling with another millionaire’s son, Kosh, who happened to be Vanessa’s old chum. To make things even more interesting, Lisi started to feel attracted to Vanessa’s kind and arty boyfriend, Dominik.

It is hard to put this in a nutshell but the story is fast and lively, the settings are breath-taking and the drama feels compelling. It is difficult to make a story this dramatic and funny in equal measures but the writers have succeeded and I certainly now want to visit that ski resort at my earliest chance.

Stay Close (Netflix)

Blackpool provided an intriguing location for ‘Stay Close.’

Harlen Coban has written some incredible stories and already entertained us with ‘The Stranger’ and ‘Safe’, which were both gritty Netflix thriller series. This new story is no exception to the rule. With a Stellar cast, including James Nesbitt (The Hobbit) and Jo Joyner as well as Richard Armitage, returning to a Coban from his role in ‘The Stranger’, this show is gripping from the word ‘Go’.

Immediately I recognised the backdrop of Blackpool, having been there again last summer myself. This narrative is all about a woman who has rebranded herself, having been a nightclub pole dancer called Cassie and now having a settled middle class family under the name of Megan. It is safe to say she isn’t proud of her past, and after a guy goes missing, her old friends come back to remind her of the old days. How will she shade her family from the troubles she attracted?

Without giving too much away, a brilliant scene-stealing role by Eddie Izzard introduces a solicitor who has always represented the Vipers Club dancers. He is now hooked on drugs and runs his business out of a pet store. He seems to know everybody, including the police officer obsessed with a disappearance which occurred several years earlier, on the same date as the guy who vanished. The connections to Cassie are riddled through the storyline.

These programmes are all brilliant in their own ways. The writing of Kitz and Stay Close is very good, convincing and easy to become fascinated by. Sara Cox plays host to a great discussion show about books and reading. I would totally recommend checking one or all of them out if you are looking for something different to watch on TV.

For my previous TV show recommendations click here. Thank you so much for reading my suggestions. If you enjoyed this post then perhaps consider following my blog to help me grow and develop as a blogger.