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The Secret Garden

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United Kingdom · 2020
Rated PG · 1h 39m
Director Marc Munden
Starring Dixie Egerickx, Tommy Gene Surridge, Colin Firth, Julie Walters
Genre Drama, Family, Fantasy

When 10-year-old Mary's neglectful parents suddenly die, her life is uprooted from India to England, where she moves in with her uncle, Lord Archibald. While exploring the palatial estate, she and her sickly cousin, Colin, discover a magical garden known only to them.

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Entertainment Weekly by

Like the garden at its heart, The Secret Garden has always found its beauty in its quietude, a small story of hearts broken and healed through nature, attentive care, and true connection. But this adaptation doesn’t understand that, instead drowning the film in showy set pieces and magical realism rather than understanding the inherent magic in all things.


The Globe and Mail (Toronto) by Barry Hertz

The latest adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 novel is not necessarily a bad film, just an unnecessary one. Given that we’ve already been treated to about a dozen film and TV (and anime!) adaptations, there is little that Munden and his creative team offer that is essential.


The Hollywood Reporter by David Rooney

But to the generation encountering it for the first time, its pleasures should be unencumbered. While the emphasis on beguiling visuals slightly overshadows the performances, the cast is uniformly solid, and Secret Garden completists will appreciate the connection of Firth playing the father of the character he played in the 1987 TV movie.


Slashfilm by Hoai-Tran Bui

Though Munden attempts to overload our senses with rich visuals, The Secret Garden does end up feeling kind of slight, like the film rushed through the SparkNotes version of the story.


IndieWire by Kate Erbland

This film is not the best representation of Burnett’s works, which toed the line between the magical and the painful — but in the moments when it succeeds, The Secret Garden blossoms into something beautiful.


The New York Times by Lovia Gyarkye

In a year defined by surprise, the predictability of The Secret Garden — a new film adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved 1911 novel — proves more charming than tedious.


Variety by Owen Gleiberman

In its top-heavy image-driven way, The Secret Garden is trying for some of the atmospheric poetry that was missing from Agnieszka Holland’s 1993 version. Yet if anything, that just makes it fall further away from the novel’s essence. The garden isn’t a supernatural place, but it’s supposed to be a mystical place. In this movie, it comes closer to being a special effect.


Slant Magazine by Wes Greene

In lieu of pluming the emotional states of the characters, the film resorts to a whimsical, otherworldly fantasy element as an easy resolution.

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