The Secret Garden

  • 1993
  • Movie
  • G
  • Children's, Drama

Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who scored an art-house hit in the US with EUROPA, EUROPA, deserved to find her way into the hearts of a larger audience with this reworking of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic childrens' tale. Though it can get laborious, and produces the odd unintended chuckle, THE SECRET GARDEN is charming and sometimes chillingly...read more

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Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who scored an art-house hit in the US with EUROPA, EUROPA, deserved to find her way into the hearts of a larger audience with this reworking of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic childrens' tale. Though it can get laborious, and produces the odd unintended

chuckle, THE SECRET GARDEN is charming and sometimes chillingly authentic.

At the center of the film is young Mary Lennox, winningly played by English actress Kate Maberly in her feature debut. Orphaned by an earthquake in India, Mary is sent to a forbidding Gothic house in the north of England to be looked after by her widower uncle, Lord Craven (John Lynch). Since he

wants nothing to do with her, she is effectively left in the charge of the dour, mean-spirited housekeeper, Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith). Things look rather grim until Mary discovers a garden that her aunt had tended and that Craven declared off-limits after her death, as well as a companion on

each side of the great English class divide: Colin (Heydon Prowse), Craven's invalid son; and Dickon (Andrew Knott), a young, Yorkshire Dr. Dolittle who walks and talks with the animals.

While there's nothing subtle about the story's metaphors of growth and rebirth, Holland avoids cliches as deftly as she does the hero/villain syndrome. The dark, oppressive characters have reasons for being that way, and Mary and Colin can be just as obnoxious as they are sympathetic.

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  • Released: 1993
  • Rating: G
  • Review: Polish director Agnieszka Holland, who scored an art-house hit in the US with EUROPA, EUROPA, deserved to find her way into the hearts of a larger audience with this reworking of Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic childrens' tale. Though it can get laboriou… (more)

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