Review: The Secret Garden (2020)

The Secret Garden is a beautiful looking movie accompanied by an elegant score but doesn’t quite deliver the magic of the original. 

PLOT AND STORY

An orphaned girl discovers a secret garden at her strict uncles estate. That’s the official synopsis but the issue I found was that the garden is so secret we don’t see it until an hour into the movie. For a family movie titled The Secret Garden I felt the actual garden would have played a bigger part in the story. The story spends the first hour setting the scene, showing the audience the troubles our young girl goes through. I understand this is to show the audience exactly why she needed the garden but I believe it was a little too much foundation, especially for the younger audience I was watching it with. 

The story is set during the 1940’s with some timely beliefs and rituals for a wealthy family. The story itself is almost identical to the 1993 original movie of the same name. This is something which really surprised me because it’s not a movie that I truly believe needs a remake so I have to wonder why the producers didn’t decide to go with a reboot rather than a remake? Give the plot a modern take and set things during a more recent time to connect with the audience because the vast majority of its target audience won’t even know what the India Pakistan Partition was.

PRODUCTION AND DIRECTION 

This is where this movie really shines because it has a beautiful setting with a wonderful score. Secret Garden truly embraces the english countryside and shows off exactly what beauty is out there and that you don’t need to travel far to find it. As long periods of the movie have none to little dialogue there is an ever present score which perfectly compliments the settings.

I’m not sure if any of this movie was green screened as it all looks completely real. I would not be surprised if this whole movie was filmed on location in India, the english country estate and the garden as it all looked accurate and realistic. 

CAST 

Julie Walters and Colin Firth may be the names on the trailers but they are simply for marketing purposes as they have very little screen time. The true and only star of this movie is Dixie Egerickx who appears in 95% of the screen time, a very tough task for any actor let alone someone so young. Being born in 2005 means Dixie would have been between 12 and 14 when filming this. This was a very impressive performance from a young talent I’m sure will have a long career ahead of her.

FINAL THOUGHTS 

I always enjoy watching movies with my kids and when a remake of a movie I liked as a kid comes along I’m always keen to experience it together. Unfortunately The Secret Garden didn’t have the same positive impact on us like other recent remakes Jumanji, Star Wars or Jurassic World. This lacked a wow factor, it lacked nostalgia and it simply lacked entertainment for long periods of the movie.

I watched this via a SKY VIP advance screening and received no incentive to review this movie.

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