Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 1993. Warner Bros., American Zoetrope. Screenplay by Caroline Thompson, based on the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Cinematography by Roger Deakins. Produced by Fred Fuchs, Fred Roos, Tom Luddy. Music by Zbigniew Preisner. Production Design by Stuart Craig. Costume Design by Marit Allen. Film Editing by Isabelle Lorente.
Lush, sensual adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel is almost on par with the excellent version of A Little Princess that came out two years later. Kate Maberly is excellent as the emotionally hardened girl who loses her parents while living out in India and is brought back to England to stay with a reclusive uncle (John Lynch) and his ailing son (Heydon Prowse). In trying to get her cousin to shake off the illnesses that she believes are brought about by the people around him fussing over him too much, she invokes the wrath of the highly sensitive housekeeper (Maggie Smith), who does whatever possible to keep the girl out of trouble. Eventually, our heroine stumbles upon a locked garden in the middle of the estate grounds that has fallen into disrepair due to neglect but is an exotic paradise all the same. Soon this place becomes the key to the healing that begins for all involved. Perfectly suitable for the whole family and directed with exceptional grace by Agnieszka Holland.