No more miss nice girl!
~ Matilda Wormwood speaks her most famous quote

Matilda Wormwood is the titular protagonist of the book, film and musical of the same first name. Her greatest gift is her genius intelligence, and she also has telekinetic powers. In both versions, she is the daughter of Harry and Zinnia Wormwood, who treat her abusively and ignore her intellectual gifts. She is also the sister of Michael, who does the same.

In the film, she is portrayed by Mara Wilson as a 6.5-year-old (who also portrayed Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire), Sara Magdalin as a 4-year-old, Amanda and Caitlin Fein as a toddler, Kayla and Kelsey Fredericks as a 9-month-old, and four babies (two girls: Alissa and Amanda Graham, and two boys: Trevor and James Gallagher) as a newborn.

In the film

Matilda makes her first appearance as a newborn baby in a hospital, and is later taken by her nasty parents and put in the trunk of the family car rather than being held by her mother or being buckled in. She ignores Michael when he tries to play with her. When she gets older, she makes a mess with boiled spinach and writes her name in it with her finger, only to disgust her mother.

By the time she is two, Matilda learns how to take care of herself by cleaning up her face, getting down from the countertop safely, buckling her shoes, getting dressed and even tying her own hair ribbon. She was always left home alone, but she decided that was how she liked it. In fact, she learned from reading how to cook, and read every book in the house by the time she was four. Then she asked her father for a book, much to his dismay. So, she had to get a book herself and find the children's library, where she walks by herself every time Michael is in school, Harry is out selling used cars, and Zinnia is out playing bingo.

Finally, when she is six, her parents cannot bear her reading any longer, and they dislike her idea of her going to school, which she wants to do. Later, for having explained the amount of money Harry sold a car for, she is accused of cheating and is sent to her room for "being a smart-aleck". She attempts to punish her angry father by having him accidentally bleach his hair and by adding "super-super glue" to the inner brim of his hat. At home, while she is reading Moby Dick (from the library), and her father gets very furious for this instead of eating any dinner and watching TV and rips the book. As he is forcing her to look at the TV, she passively destroys it with powers she didn't know she had.

Another time, Matilda is sent to Crunchem Hall School, where she meets a girl named Lavender and an older one named Hortensia, the latter of which explains about an iron-maiden-like device called the "chokey". She also ends up meeting the cruel principal, Miss Agatha Trunchbull, who swings a pig-tailed girl named Amanda Thripp and throws her around the fence. She then meets her nicer teacher Miss Honey. After school, she tries to explain her day at school to her mother, but she doesn't care. That night, Miss Honey comes to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood about Matilda, who is then sent to her room. After a talk, Miss Honey gives a book to Matilda.

The next day, Matilda is called in with the other kids to the assembly room immediately to watch an obese boy named Bruce Bogtrotter being forced to eat a whole chocolate cake. Matilda starts encouraging Bruce to keep going along with the others, until Miss Trunchbull breaks the plate over Bruce's head and he burps. Along with the other kids, Matilda is forced to spend five hours after school staying and copying from the dictionary, with a threat that anyone who objects will go right into the chokey together. It isn't until nighttime that Matilda goes home, and her father accuses her of lying when she explains what happened and tells her "You see those packages? They were left out there for the world to see because you weren't here to take them in!"

Throughout the story, Matilda learns that Miss Honey was Miss Trunchbull's niece, and the vile principal had murdered Miss Honey's father. So she and the other students, with Miss Honey, band together and defeat Miss Trunchbull with the aid of Matilda's telekinesis, driving her out of Crunchem Hall forever.

At the end, Matilda wants to stay with Miss Honey since her family is moving to Guam as a permanent vacation after Harry finally becomes wanted by the FBI, due to his illegal dealings. Harry and Zinnia reluctantly agree to sign the adoption papers and let Matilda stay with Miss Honey for the rest of her life.

Powers and Abilities

In spite of her age, she is an exceptional telekinetic (the said power is not mentioned outright in book and its adaptations). She first discovered this when accidentally destroyed a TV she was forced to watch and later, making some food that was falling land perfectly on her plate. In book, she discovered it when she accidentally caused the glass from which Miss Trunchbull drinks tips over and a newt (which Lavender caught in her garden and placed in the water pitcher) jumps onto Miss Trunchbull's shirt. The Trunchbull, who tends to speculate with no backup evidence, accuses Matilda of running out and tipping the glass over when she wasn't moving. When Matilda says that she didn't do it due to not being aware with what just happened, a verbal argument between Matilda and Miss Trunchbull ensues, which lasts for about a minute. Miss Trunchbull ends the argument by telling Matilda to sit down and be quiet. Matilda would later hone her skills with this newfound ability, through which she discovered that her telekinesis seems to be at its peak whenever something angers her: When recalling the mistreatment that she receives from her family, her rage over those memories resulting the output of telekinetic force she unleashed greater than she intended.

While the use of her powers in the novel was limited to an object that she was directly concentrating on, Matilda's capabilities in film seemed to be more potent as in the end of the movie, she was able to move a book and start a car without any problems. It is possible that if she had plenty of practice, she could be able to move larger objects.

In the musical, Matilda had additional psychic powers in form of establishing psychic connections with other people such as Miss Honey and psychometry (the ability to gain memories by touching objects).




  • Matilda claims that she celebrated her birthday in August, and because she likes books, nature, healthy food, animals and cleaning, Matilda is likely to be Virgo.
  • Matilda's character parallels to that of various tragic gifted villainess such as Sachiko Shinozaki, Carrie White, Aggie Prenderghast, and Alessa Gillespie (though Carrie is the one who shares similar traits with her the most). All of them are mistreated females that possesses unusual powers, and also used their respective powers to wreak vengeance on their tormentor(s). In stark contrast of them who treated as outcasts worth to hate, Matilda is mistreated by only a handful of individuals — namely, her abusive family and her archenemy Miss Trunchbull.
    • In addition to this, Matilda was also shown to be more heroic since her innocence made it so that she persevered despite the odds, and that she was able to properly use her powers for good.
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