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|“||No more miss nice girl.||„|
|~ Matilda Wormwood speaks her most famous quote.|
Matilda Wormwood is the titular main 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 (although Michael was nicer in the novel).
In the film, she is portrayed by Mara Wilson as a 6-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 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 the hospital, and is taken by her dismissive parents who put her in the trunk of the car instead of being buckled in. She proves to be a precocious child, learning to take care of herself from a very young age. Although her parents left her at home alone, she did not mind, and learned to read and cook. As she gets older, she asks her father for a book, to which he refuses, dismissively. Matilda proceeds to make her way to the library on her own, all while her father is selling faulty cars, scamming customers for their money, and her mother is out playing bingo.
At six years of age, Matilda requests to attend school, but her parents refuse. Her father grew increasingly irritated with his daughter's intelligence, unable to accept the fact that she was smarter than he was. In response, Matilda began getting revenge on her parents with several sneaky tricks, such as using hair bleach and super glue to his hat. After her father tears apart one of her library books (Moby Dick), she proceeds to use her mental powers to destroy the television.
Two days later, Matilda is sent to Crunchem Hall Elementary School, where she meets and befriends two girls, Lavender and Hortensia. The latter informs her about an iron, maiden-like device known as The Chokey, before encountering the cruel principal, Agatha Trunchbull. Matilda's teacher happens to be the kind, considerate Jennifer Honey, who takes an instant liking to Matilda. She visits the Wormwood household that evening, but they are dismissive towards her suggestions about Matilda.
The next day, the entire school is called to the assembly room, where the Trunchbull forces an obese boy, Bruce Bogtrotter, to consume an enormous chocolate cake in one sitting onstage. Matilda begins cheering him on, and eventually rallies the whole school into rooting for him. Bogtrotter succeeds, against Trunchbull's expectations. Infuriated by the insolent behavior of the students, the Trunchbull sentences all students to a 5-hour after-school detention, where they copy from a dictionary.
Matilda thus arrives home late in the evening, and her father refuses to believe what had happened. She later learns that her teacher, Jennifer Honey, was the Trunchbull's niece, and had been brought up by her abusive aunt. It is implied that the Trunchbull had murdered Honey's father, Magnus.
She successfully defeats Agatha Trunchbull by writing a message on the chalkboard, posing as the Trunchbull's deceased brother-in-law, who threatens her. After the Trunchbull passes out, she regains consciousness a few minutes later and proceeds to attack two other students. Matilda thwarts her once again, and the entire school revolts, throwing their lunches at the Trunchbull as she flees in her car.
Following this, her father gets busted by the authorities for his illegal dealings. They plan to flee to Guam to avoid the authorities (although this was a rather unintelligent move, with Guam being a territory of the US). Matilda insists upon staying with her teacher, Jennifer Honey, and her parents agree.
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 she accidentally destroyed a TV she was forced to watch and later, making some food that was falling land perfectly on her plate. In the 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 said 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 possessed 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.