WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnette, The Secret Garden tells the story of Mary Lennox, a 10-year-old girl who has been sent to live on a remote country estate with her uncle, Archibald Craven, after her parents' sudden deaths. While exploring her new surroundings, Mary stumbles upon a hidden magical garden.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
This book has had a number of film adaptations throughout the years, each one more aesthetically pleasing as technology improved. Prior to the 2020 version, the film was last recreated in 1993.
Now, while I recall bits and pieces of the 90s rendition, I was far too young to understand the complex themes beneath the fairytale surface. For this reason, I'm glad studios keep finding an excuse to revive the popular book.
Fourteen-year-old actor Dixie Egerickx takes on the role of Mary Lennox in the 2020 film. Mary is feisty, strong-willed, spoilt, and a little rude but, of course, softens up toward the end. The same goes for her cousin, Colin Craven, played by Edan Hayhurst.
The underlying theme of rejuvenation is still quite apparent. In fact, I found that it was intensified even more this time. This could be attributed the stark visual differences between the gloomy scenes, which touch on subjects like death, illness and suffering, versus the bright, joyful moments sparked by Mary's discovery of the garden.
If anything, this film is one that creates a sense of hope. Sitting in the cinema, mask on and socially distanced from the one other person in the room, I could not help but feel a connection to the misery experienced by many of the characters. This year has been one of darkness, illness and loss for many.
Yet, the moment Mary discovers this magical garden and works to restore it, there's a shift in one's spirit – a realisation that, though days may seem dark, the light always prevails.
There's something that can be said about a film that allows you to leave the theatre feeling lighter. That's what The Secret Garden is – a pick-me-up on a gloomy day and a reminder that things always get better.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:
The Secret Garden is now showing in cinemas.