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The Secret Garden
1 review

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Agnieszka Holland

Written By:
Caroline Thompson

Maggie Smith, Andrew Knott, John Lynch, Kate Maberly, Kate Maberly, Haydon Prowse

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The Secret Garden (1993)
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Movie Review by Tim
April 2nd, 2015

A Beautiful Film

This film is a beautiful, wondrous adaptation of the immensely popular 1911 serial novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It's worth reading a biography of this author to better appreciate the story she wrote. The film takes a few liberties with details here and there, irritating a few of the reviewers, but it generally keeps to the central plot and theme.

The overwhelming response to this film was positive from the beginning, and since it centers around young people, it is only natural that most reviewers believe the young actors who played in it were exceptional. Moreover, these young actors were strongly supported by adult actors of renowned talent. Good acting does not come without fine direction, and add rich cinematography, a somewhat creepy old house in Yorkshire, and some dark, cloudy days, and you arrive at "the Secret Garden" indeed.

This film catapulted a young Kate Maberly into the spotlight, and we are so glad it did. We see that Kate clearly has an acting style, even at this young age. Often reserved and understated, she is never one to overact in a scene. It's a highly realistic style that works extremely well in "the Secret Garden" and has worked again and again for Kate in many other films ever since. Among other things, it's what keeps this film from turning sickeningly syrupy sweet. Another attribute Kate brings to the screen, even at the tender age of ten, is a special charisma. When she smiles and her sparkling brown eyes glance at the camera in a film like "the Secret Garden," it seems to magically warm the whole world around her. Good directors, like Secret Garden's Agnieszka Holland, know this and try to capture it at every opportunity a scene might allow, knowing it makes for great cinema. I don't think there has ever been another actor who could have played the role of Mary Lennox quite so well. This role belongs to Kate.

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