Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
USA, 1995. Warner Bros., Mark Johnson Productions, Baltimore Pictures. Screenplay by Richard LaGravenese, Elizabeth Chandler, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Produced by Mark Johnson. Music by Patrick Doyle. Production Design by Bo Welch. Costume Design by Judianna Makovsky. Film Editing by Steven Weisberg.
Very small children will be incredibly upset by this gorgeously shot family film, but if your kid is older than six or seven and hardy enough for it, by all means let them see it. Based loosely on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett (who also wrote The Secret Garden), this Alfonso Cuaron-directed masterpiece is about a young girl (Liesel Matthews) who is left by her father at a posh New York boarding school when he goes off to fight in World War I. Becoming friendly with all her classmates, her world is suddenly shattered when news comes that her father is missing in action and there is no way for her to continue living in the luxury to which she has become accustomed. Now, instead of being the most popular girl in school, she’s a scullery maid along with another little girl in the attic (Vanessa Lee Chester), and must suffer the wrath of the school’s domineering and hard-nosed schoolmistress (a terrifying Eleanor Bron; I was a teenager when I first saw this and she still gave me nightmares). By the time you reach the exciting climax, your heart will be in your throat.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction