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Secret Garden Movie Review



The Secret Garden


5 of 5 stars Superior acting and a great ending! August 7, 2000

After watching the 1987 version, I was very disappointed with the acting and decided to definitely watch the 1993 production. The acting is superior and the setting more realistic. If someone could take the best qualities of both movies and put them into one, to me that would be the perfect Secret Garden movie.

The 1987 version taught lessons more easily to younger children, while this newer one will be enjoyed more by older children and adults. Colin's father (played by John Lynch) is a much more human portrayal. We can truly empathize with his sorrow and Colin's need to have his father in his life.

Mary Lenox was also played in a more serious light by Kate Maberley. She portrayed her character extremely well. Her story begins in India and we learn she is emotionally neglected, yet spoiled and physically well taken care of. She loses her parents in a massive earthquake. (In the 1987 film it is a plague.)

Since she can no longer stay in India, she is literally shipped off to her uncle. As she enters the monstrosity of a castle, we feel she is doomed to be neglected, hated and locked away. Even Mrs. Medlock (the housekeeper played by Maggie Smith) is not impressed or sympathetic. Mary is told "not to go wandering and poking about." Mary's natural curiosity compels her to discover a way out of her room and soon she finds secret doors, staircases, rooms and gardens.

At first Martha (a maid) is her only friend, then she soon learns to like Martha's brother Dikon. He shares her love of gardening. Martha and Dikon seem to be the only truly happy characters for the entire first half of the movie. All the actors have wonderful accents and reveal the positive and negative aspects of each character.

When Mary meets Colin, she has in fact met her match. He is her cousin who is bedridden, spoiled and annoying! His hysterical screeching makes him most unlovable. Mary shows Colin that nothing is impossible when you put your mind to it. She also says something profoundly beautiful at the end of the story.

I found the magic spell casting in this version a bit intense in comparison to the 1987 version, where dancing around the fire was a fun time. There is something about the 1987 version which I think appeals more to children, as the characters seem to have a bit more fun overall. This 1993 version has a much better ending. I recommend this version for those who want a high-quality movie, and the 1987 version for those who can overlook the acting. I think there is something to be learned from both movies.

~The Rebecca Review 



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