The Secret Garden (1993) Film Review
- Director: Agnieszka Holland
- Producer: Francis Ford Coppola
- Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
- Genre: Family, Fantasy, Drama
- Budget: $18,000,000
Set in 1911, young Mary Lenox is orphaned when her parents are killed in an earthquake in India. So the little girl is shipped home from India to live with her Uncle in his mansion. 10 yr old Mary was never shown any love or emotion from her mother, who much preferred partying and socialising than spending time with her daughter. So it is little wonder that Mary has grown up to be a cold and hard little girl, showing no emotion or empathy towards other people.
Mrs Medlock, Lord Craven's servant, is in charge of taking care of Mary. But she has a job on her hands with this young lady as Mary is so rude towards her. Ordered to stay in her room, young Mary has other ideas when she starts to hear noises. So she starts exploring the house. As she then starts to explore the large gardens she comes across a locked door, thanks to the help of a little robin. The garden behind the locked door has not been accessed since her Aunt Lillia accidentally died 10 years previously. Mary eventually finds the key to the secret garden though.
Meanwhile, Mary meets Dickon, who is the brother to the housemaid, Martha. Dickon say he can talk to animals. And there are lots of cute furry animals in this secret garden. You can see him whistling to the birds in the film, which is cute. And then there is Colin Craven, who is Mary's cousin. It was his mother, LIllia, who had died in childbirth. He has been confined to his room and says he is dying. Much like Mary, he is rude and obstinate. But what we see in this film is Mary convincing him that he is not in fact dying, and encourages him to leave his room where he has spent the last 10 years. Colin's father, Lord Archibald, is often away and is so protective of his son. This is understandable, but the poor boy doesn't seem to have any sort of life and is looked after by Archibald's staff. He hasn't even seen daylight as the shutters on his windows are always closed.
The 3 children strike up a friendship and Colin learns not only to walk, but that there is life outside the 4 walls of his room. Mary also starts planting seeds in the secret garden and restoring the garden to its former glory.
This story has been told many times over the years. This is the first time I've seen the 1993 version of this film though. Watching this has taken me back to my childhood. I had forgotten how good it is. I really love how Mary changes from the hard-hearted little girl to a warm, cheerful and generous girl. The same could be said for Colin. His father, Archibald Craven, has always been over protective of him, which was why he was made to stay in his room for all these years. But when Mary and Dickon start taking him out, he seems to get a new lease of life. It's really quite endearing to watch how these 3 children learn and grow from each other. The change in both Mary and Craven's life is quite magical to watch onscreen.
Mrs Medlock, played by the wonderful Maggie Smith, plays an excellent role in this film. She is in control of looking after the children and worries about Craven and his health. But what we see towards the end of the film is so heart warming. I love the reaction of both Mrs Madlock and Archibald Craven when they see these children playing.
I loved the acting with the children. The 3 actors who plays Mary, Craven and Dickon played really strong parts and they seemed to have a good acting relationship onscreen. Although Archibald Craven isn't in the film as much as some of the other actors, I still think he plays a good role. You get the sense that he worries over his son and is an over protective father. This is only natural after what he's been through, but I also think it's good to see that the son, Craven has made some friends and got out into the fresh air and is starting to learn that there is life outside of his bedroom.
The Secret Garden Official Trailer
© 2020 Louise Powles