There’s no denying that Emma Thompson’s latest transformation into the sadistic Agatha Tronchataro in the new Netflix title matilda the musical It’s a work of genius, by an Oscar winner herself and an army of makeup artists. However, the explicit scenes of Ms. Troncatoro’s violent behavior are likely to be a traumatic experience for both children and survivors of child abuse.
author of matilda, Roald Dahl is best known for his approach to child cruelty, ranging from child-murdering witches to the physical mutilation of naughty children. Charlie And this chocolate Factory. own matilda It contains graphic phrases such as: “Tronchatoro just grabbed my ear and took me to the hole and put me in and shut the door… When I came out there were cuts and bruises all over me.”
This literary interest in child abuse dates back a long time: in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm, the juniper tree There is a story in which a boy is taken apart by his stepmother and murdered before being cooked into a stew that is served to his father. Then, Should these books based on child abuse be banned completely? I don’t think so – because when reading stories, there is some distance from the space for visual imagination and interpretation – but there is no room left to avoid seeing a terrifying experience on a movie screen, no way to stop the burning of violent images. Not the way in a child’s mind.
This is especially evident in Netflix’s new adaptation. matilda, Adaptation of the stage musical by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly. Not only because of the famous scene with the braids (which also appeared in the version matilda directed by Danny DeVito in 1996), in which we see innocent Amanda Thripp wringing her ponytail while we hear her scream and the sound of her ponytail coming off her head, but a fresh scene of mutilation still What is more painful is Eric is lifted into the air by his ears as Miss Tronchatoro pulls his ears several inches away from his head.
To be honest, watching these graphic scenes of cruelty on screen and hearing the screams of dying children is a worse experience than reading Dahl’s novels. The film makes the abuse more and more real; It’s right in front of your face, traumatizing children and providing an equally uncomfortable sight for those who have experienced child abuse. Coupled with great musical numbers and special effects, they ease the agony.
Cinema’s ability to find entertainment in child abuse is nothing new. Just look at the 1981 play, Dear Mother, In which we see graphic scenes of violence perpetrated by Joan Crawford against her adopted daughter, Christina, from strangulation to the famous scene in which Christina is savagely beaten with a clothes hanger. However, since its release, rather than creating an educational legacy for the public about child abuse, it has become a pop culture icon, giving rise to the catchphrase “no clothespins”. As Faye Dunaway herself said, it went over the top.
or the 2017 adaptation it, by Stephen King, in which Pennywise cuts off seven-year-old Georgie’s arm before dragging her into the sewers to kill her. In the new American sci-fi horror film M3gan, we see how an artificial intelligence doll tears off a child’s ear. Cruelty to children in cinema is on the rise and, in an age where we are so aware of the long-term effects of trauma, it seems deeply reductive and contradictory for cinema to broadcast these graphic scenes of abuse, And with it a tone that turns this serious subject into entertainment.
However, there is one important difference m3gun e it are horror movies, both are rated for ages 15+, while matilda the musical It is rated PG. In fact, the British Council for Film Classification has also rated the film as “comedic violence”. really? If there’s one surefire way to dishonor survivors of child abuse, it’s associating violence against children with comedy. However, it also raises the important question of whether any form of violence against children should be allowed in a PG-rated film, such as matildain which the public finds itself at such a critical moment in its psychological development.
Of course, children should be educated about child abuse in today’s society, but is a movie musical that mixes big dance numbers with physical brutality and perversion really the best choice?