ChildCare Action Project:
Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
CAP Score: Not computed
CAP ID: Not computed
Thomas A. Carder
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I apologize that you have come to our site to see a numeric comparative analysis of Matilda (1996) and none is here. I did not complete the analysis. The occurence of unacceptable material was so fast I could not keep up with the rate of examples. In the first twenty or so minutes, I had a full recording page of examples of Impunity/Hate and Wanton Violence/Crime. And it was inaccurate because the rate of presentation of unacceptable material was so fast that by the time I had one recorded, other examples came and went.
Most of the examples of unacceptable behavior were due to portrayal of a father as a very, very caustic and abrasive bum (Danny DeVito). To throw salt in this wound made typical by the entertainment media for kids was a school principal being protrayed as a Nazi-type authority figure using completely inappropriate adolescent control tactics, including physical violence. The school principal also said she was God. Other examples of inappropriate display included an adolescent couseling an adult authority figure. Adolescent revenge by supernatural powers ran rampant in the final half of the show. The producers even had an adolescent handing his father a beer. And the producers encouraged the lowering of the threshold of acceptability to drop yet another notch by having the little girl with an adult accomplice break and enter into private property.
This was by no means a kid's movie. It was a dark and empathic feeding of adolescent wishes for removal of parental and exofamilial controls and for revenge on authority. Some professional mental health people seem to say it is natural for children to want their parents and other authority figures to "get what they have coming to them," in response to resentment of discipline. This movie, albeit a fantasy, does precisely that by displaying example after example of revenge and autonomy. Matilda feeds the innate foolishness of children (recall Proverb 22:15 "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child..."). And as is typical with "children's movies" from the entertainment industry, Matilda portrayed a little girl from toddler to a ripe and wise age of six and a half years repeatedly being abandoned at home. As she grew, Matilda repeatedly left the home to walk to the inner city. Too many children are ultra-impressionable in this era of constant entertainment and instant gratification. This movie may convince adolescents of the same age that they are old enough to do the same! And all was, of course, culminated in a warm and loving theme which coached the viewer to think the ends justify the means (situational ethics) and that "The bad people got what they deserved." Remember who has the final Authority and Law on vengence.
I recommend you avoid exposing you child(ren) toMatilda if you can. I found this movie to be yet another example of the subliminal style of child abuse from the entertainment media. If this movie makes you as a parent uncomfortable, it should!
Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."
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Thomas A. Carder
ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)
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