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Acting and Acting Styles – “Matilda”

Updated on July 11, 2017

"Matilda" the Movie

Film: Matilda
Main Actors: Mara Wilson, Rhea Perlman, Danny DeVito
Classification of These Actors:
Mara Wilson: Imposter actor.
Rhea Perlman: Personality actor.
Danny DeVito: Personality actor. Director.

Matilda – Trailer
(mearbhracht, n.d.)

Why I classify these actors as I do.

Mara Wilson won “Best Performance by a Young Actress in a Comedy Film” for her part in this movie, Matilda, (1996). She won the “Young Star Award.” In the movie, Matilda, Mara was a very good actress playing the role of a very young girl (Matilda), whose parents were not good parents to her, so her teacher adopted her. I do not know of any films that Wilson has acted in since the year 2000, when she played a role in the film Thomas and the Magic Railroad. At the time of the film, Matilda was an imposter actor.

Rhea Perlman – She is very good at the role she plays, and that role is as a sarcastic, smart-mouthed comedian. She plays this role very well. She is well-known for her role as Carla on the television comedy Cheers, in which she was a regular. She is remembered for her part on that show as a sarcastic, smart-mouthed comedian. Perlman has acted in many movies, in which she portrayed this same style in those movies as well. Yes, Perlman is an actress who is type cast as a sarcastic, smart-mouthed comedian. She is a personality actor.

Danny DeVito is excellent in the roles that he has acted. He has acted in many movies, and directed as well. He has played in many other comedy movies and television shows. In Taxi, he was the bossy, disagreeable boss. In movie roles that I have seen him in, and there are many, DeVito has always played a guy down on his luck and trying to improve his situation, but usually does not succeed, at least, not without a lot of trouble. He is a comedian and a director. Yes, DeVito is type cast as a down-on-his-luck, care about himself only, and low down comedian. He is a personality actor.

Impact of any Realistic or Stylized Portrayals within the film Matilda.

(Nanthini, 2013)

DeVito (dad), Perlman (mom), and Wilson (Matilda) all portrayed realistically in this movie. DeVito (as father of Matilda) and Perlman (as mother of Matilda) impacted realistic portrayals in this movie as did Wilson (Matilda). DeVito and Perlman acted as parents who were slackers, never-do-well, interested in just themselves, slobs, and not above anything. They really treated their daughter, Matilda, like a total outcast from their family. Their daughter was a smart girl who loved to read books. She loved learning new things, and really liked her teacher who was very nice to her. Her parents were not nice to her. They criticized Matilda for reading books all of the time. Besides of having a love of books and reading, Matilda dove into reading a book to escape for a while from her parents’ ways and her home life. Her brother was like mom and dad. He did not like to read books, and had no interest in learning. The parents got along fine with him. Matilda, though, the parents criticized and neglected. They had no interest in her because she was not like them. Matilda’s teacher loved teaching and had no husband or children. She loved Matilda. They were a lot like each other. The teacher visited Matilda’s home and did not like what she saw. She did not like how the parents treated Matilda and their lack of care for education. Matilda’s teacher asked the parents if she could adopt Matilda. Matilda’s parents were very happy to part with her, and let the teacher adopt the young girl. Everyone was very happy. Matilda and the teacher were especially happy, and so were Matilda’s mom and dad who happily drove off as they left Matilda with the teacher, her newly adoptive parent. Mom, dad, and their young son were very happy leaving Matilda with the school teacher to live. This film was portrayed realistically as far as these actors’ roles were concerned. The principal’s role was over the top, and not realistic. The principal’s role was a stylized portrayal.

“There is never a moment (except toward the happy ending) that we sense DeVito is anything other than quite serious about this material. He goes with Dahl’s macabre vision.” (Ebert, 1996)

Based on other films that Danny DeVito has been in, would DeVito always be placed in the same category – down-on-his-luck, care about himself only – comedy.

DeVito is great at playing the part of a low down, not-so-nice, mouthy slacker comedian with a little bit of heart (sometimes). He plays sarcastic well, so well in fact, that when I first saw him in Taxi playing the boss at a taxi cab company, I did not like him. Later, I saw him in many movies, such as Throw Mamma from the Train, Batman Returns, Twins, and Heist. I found out I like watching DeVito playing the parts he plays so well in movies.

If so, what does this say about the category or actor Danny DeVito?

DeVito’s category is Personality. This is due to the fact that DeVito is type cast. Therefore, his role in the film, Matilda, was a good fit for him as he was for the role. The character he played is that of a low down, care about himself only, down on his luck character, but in kind of a comical form. DeVito has been type cast in these roles for decades. Also, in roles like DeVito’s role in this film and his character seem to have the same qualities – which make it difficult or impossible to separate the man from his character.


Ebert, R., (1996/08/02). Matilda. Reviews. Retrieved online at
mearbhrache, (n.d.) Matilda (trailer). (1996.) Retrieved online at Nanthini, A., (2013/01/11). Matilda and her parents.


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