The Secret Garden (Blu-ray) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Family, Fantasy
Director: Marc Munden
Distributor: StudioCanal
Duration: 99 minutes

The Secret Garden (Blu-ray) – Movie Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Acting, Overall atmosphere
Bad: Never truly goes somewhere
User Score
7.0
(3 votes)
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Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)

The Secret Garden will probably ring a bell to many, even if they are several generations apart. This 1911 novel has been adapted for the silver screen, as well as theatre, several times throughout the years and in 2020 the fifth movie adaptation was released for TV only. The movie, starring the renowned Colin Firth, was released quite silently during the COVID pandemic currently plaguing the world. We were lucky enough to take a look at the physical release by StudioCanal in the comfort of our living room.

In The Secret Garden you’ll learn the tragic fate of young Mary’s (Dixie Egerickx) parents, who died while stationed in India in 1947. Mary will soon find her sheltered life quite stirred up, as she is used to being served around the clock. She finds herself in the care of her uncle, Archibald Craven (Colin Firth), who would rather not deal with her. As long as she doesn’t make too much noise and stays out of his sight, she can remain there without being sent off to a boarding school. She is being heavily monitored by the matron of the house, Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters), who has it out for Mary. While Mary is told not to explore the house, to avoid certain rooms and to abide by all the rules, she uncovers a seemingly magical garden. When also meeting Archilbald’s hidden and very ill son, Colin (Edan Hayburst), she wants to take him there as well. This task will prove a lot more difficult than she could have hoped for.

The pacing of the movie is actually quite slow, although it doesn’t really feel as such. Throughout the entire movie, it feels like there’s going to be a somewhat intense moment or a grand finale, and while there is a finale, it is somewhat lukewarm. That being said, the movie’s crawling speed is not annoying or tedious, it just feels like it’s happening, it’s quite pleasant, but it misses a certain goal or purpose throughout. It’s a relaxing experience, it makes you calm down, but also wonder what more could have been done to spice things up.

Acting performances are quite formidable. While the core cast is toned down to a handful of people, they do make the movie feel alive. In the first place, there is Dixie Egerickx, who plays the young Mary. Her character shows proper growth throughout the film and may actually be the only character that has this much depth. This means that the young actress had to carry most of the movie’s weight on her back, and she does so properly. Her two younger co-stars, Amir Wilson and Edan Hayhurst provide the necessary backup and of course the proper input for the story. Wilson recently took the lead in the Netflix series, Letter to the King and is now also starring in His Dark Materials, showing this young man has a lot of promise. Hayhurst’s career isn’t taking off at the same speed, but even so, he puts down a proper stage presence. Colin Firth takes a role more suited for the background, showing his face when the story wants him to do so. Julie Walters and Isis Davis play proper opposites when it comes to how they treat Dixie’s character, which creates a nice contrast throughout the movie.

Regrettably so, this Blu-ray edition of the movie comes with absolutely no special features at all. It feels like a huge missed opportunity not to refer to the source material, the countless adaptations of the book, etc. We would have loved to sink our teeth in some additional content, as the movie itself could use that little more to get you properly hooked.

Conclusion

The 2020 rendition of The Secret Garden is a tough one to properly judge. The movie itself is quite appealing, the acting is formidable and that magical atmosphere is present, it just barely scratches the surface of what it could have been. It feels like if certain scenes could have been shortened and if the writers could have gone a bit deeper into the underlying story, this movie would have been wonderful. As it stands now, the movie is nice, but the physical edition of the film brings nothing extra to the table in terms of content. A fun film for your collection, but probably not at full price.

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The Secret Garden (Blu-ray) - Movie Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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