“The Secret Garden” (STX)
By Catholic News Service
Fourth big-screen adaptation of the 1911 children’s novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, directed by Marc Munden from a screenplay by Jack Thorne.
After a spoiled child (Dixie Egerickx) who has grown up in India finds herself orphaned due to an outbreak of cholera, she is forced to return to her parents’ native England where she’s taken in by her uncle (Colin Firth), a grieving widower, and supervised by his no-nonsense housekeeper (Julie Walters). The dreariness of her new home drives her outdoors where she accidentally discovers the enclave of the title, a magical place whose curative whimsy she hopes will heal her sickly, bedridden cousin (Edan Hayhurst), if only she and a newfound friend (Amir Wilson) can succeed in somehow bringing him there.
The film, with its magnificent visuals, does not strictly adhere to the book, updating its time period, for instance, by nearly a half-century. But the basic plot remains as, too, does the original’s treatment of grief, isolation, discovery, imagination and love of family.
Mature themes and mild peril. The Catholic News Service classification is A-II — adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association rating is PG — parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.