Heartwarming: Matilda

  • The end of the film version of Matilda features this scene at the end when Matilda's family is forced to leave the country.:
    Matilda: I love it here! I love my school; it isn't fair! Miss Honey, please don't let them...
    Harry Wormwood: [interrupting] Get in the car, Melinda!
    Matilda: Matilda!
    Harry Wormwood: Whatever.
    Matilda: I want to stay with Miss Honey.
    Zimmia Wormwood: Miss Honey doesn't want you. Why would she want some snotty, disobedient kid?
    Miss Honey: Because she's a spectacularly wonderful child, and I love her!
  • Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny, but:
    Matilda: Here, I've got the adoption papers right here!
    Zinnia Wormwood: Where did you get those?
    Matilda: [Gives her a triumphant look] From the library! I've had them since I was old enough to xerox!
    • Just the thought that she had copied the forms when she was three or four, that she had wanted to get out of that family that long and finally had... Warm. Fuzzy.
  • And the immediately following line from Zinnia: "You're the only daughter I've ever had, Matilda, and I never understood you, not one little bit... Who's got a pen?" It's this woman finally doing something good for her daughter.
  • Watching Matilda find a home and a family with Miss Honey even more satisfying when you take into account several small moments leading up to the finale. One subtle moment happens right before Matilda makes the TV explode. Harry Wormword confronts her about reading during TV/Dinner time and asks her, "Are you in this family?" Matilda gives a soft, non-committal grunt as an answer; she ISN'T part of that family. Not really. So when she finally moves in with Miss Honey, it's that much more heartwarming.
  • Go on, watch the "Little Bitty Pretty One" scene without smiling. I dare you.
    • Gains an extra heartwarming feel to it upon watching the Matilda's Movie Magic feature on the DVD - apparently Mara Wilson was nervous about dancing on that table because she was the only one dancing, so while they were filming the scene, everyone on the set, except the guy running the camera, danced along with her. Think of that next time you watch that scene, and it will be even harder to not smile and feel like dancing yourself.
  • The narration about Matilda's relationships with her books, which described the authors as being a way to let her know, "You are not alone."
  • The montage at the end of Miss Honey and Matilda having fun now that The Trunchbull is run out of school and Matilda's parents have fled the country. It's unbelievably sweet.
  • In The Musical when Tim Minchin speech at the Olivier's when he mentions two forgotten Matilda's Josie Griffiths and Adrianna Bertola and thanks them.
  • Miss Honey rescuing Matilda from the Chokey—despite how much trouble she could get into because of it. The hug they share is just adorable.
  • Miss Honey trying to help Matilda's home life. When she fails to get through to Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood, she still manages to leave Matilda a book to read, and mouths "see you tomorrow."
  • When Harry does take Matilda to school. It's the only time you see a somewhat heartwarming moment between the two. When she hugs him, he does act annoyed but not in the cruel way and even makes the effort to drive her there so she'd know the way. Sure we all know it goes downhill from here, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Michael waving good-bye to his sister. While he was a bully in the movie, he was pretty all right, if not mildly crooked, in the book. While his and Matilda's relationship was never explored, it's pretty refreshing to know that Matilda had one family member she got along with.
  • In The Musical, Miss Honey pulls Matilda aside during class and apologizes that she wasn't able to move her up to a more advanced grade, but knows that Matilda will probably be bored in class so she asks if she would like to have some more complicated books to read while Miss Honey teaches the rest of the class. There's a Beat, with Miss Honey probably wondering if she's said something wrong, and then Matilda gives her a hug so big that she's nearly knocked over with surprise. It's clearly the nicest thing that anyone has ever done for Matilda, and Miss Honey realizes just how much this means to her, but doesn't quite know how to respond.
    Miss Honey: ...*That* is the biggest hug in the world. [Beat]. Matilda, I think you're going to hug all of the air out of me.

Meta

  • The entire story. This is a movie about two people who grew up in horrifically abusive households—one whose biological parents neglected her and mentally and emotionally abused her, and one whose parents loved her very much but died, and who was effectively fostered into a physically and emotionally abusive household. Both are very strong young women, who are intelligent and capable and powerful—but whose guardians terrify them and who remain under said guardians' care because they are afraid. They are not demonized or chastised or portrayed as weak because of it, because their fears are realistic. This is a movie where those guardians were wrong. There's no message that "we loved you but didn't know how to show it"; at no point is it implied that "You have to love them, they're your family". It's not a case of "pity the bully, because they're victims too!" No. They are abusive, they are cruel, and they are wrong. And at the end, Matilda escapes from her abusive guardians and finds a true family, with someone who loves her. Miss Honey, as an adoptive single mother, is portrayed as Matilda's true family because she loves her. Just imagine being a child in a neglectful or abusive household, and seeing that kind of message in a popular movie for the first time...
    • Yet another level: The "Would your parents believe you?" "...No" aspect of the film. Just because nobody believes your stories of abuse, just because you're not taken seriously because you're just a kid, that doesn't make you a liar.
      "I'm big, you're little. I'm right, and you're wrong!" Not true, Jerkass.
  • Mara Wilson's glowing review of the musical, which touches on her struggle to release herself from her identity as Matilda while also acknowledging how she loved being Matilda.
  • In 2013, Sony comissioned a new restoration for a Blu-Ray release. Danny DeVito celebrated by inviting the cast over for tea. Some footage from this reunion turned up in the Blu-Ray bonus features, showcasing how close the actors still feel to each other.
    Mara Wilson: When I think about the movie on its own, one of the messages there is you can make your own family. And it's funny, because I did sort of feel like on the set of Matilda, we were very familial...
  • Best Friends Forever.
  • Hermione reads Matilda.