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Awesome / Matilda

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  • Miss Honey gets one in both the book and the film when she calls Mr. Wormwood out for considering some stupid TV show (in the book, it was a soap opera; in the movie, it was a televised boxing match) more important than his daughter.
    • When Matilda's dad makes disparaging comments about college-educated people and Miss Honey points out that educated people have a place in the world (if, Heaven forbid, Matilda's dad had a heart attack, the doctor that cared for him would have been college-educated or, if Matilda's dad was sued for selling faulty cars, his lawyer would have been college-educated).
      • Unintentionally, during the film with the same exchange she tricked Mr. Wormwood into saying his I Never Said It Was Poison response:
        Mr. Wormwood: What car? Sued by who? Who've you been talking to?!
  • Bruce Bogtrotter's defiant triumph over Trunchbull's attempt at punishment hands the student body their first victory over their tormentor, and not even breaking the platter over his head can fix that first crack in her facade of invincibility.
  • Nigel refuses to let the Trunchbull bully him when she teaches Miss Honey's students. He answers all her questions correctly, while standing on one leg as per her punishment for arriving to class with dirty hands, and points out everyone in the class can spell "Difficulty". Miss Honey can only warn him not to mouth off to the Trunchbull so much.
  • The whole class stands up for Matilda when she points out she was too far from Miss Trunchbull's water jug to knock it over, using Exact Words to show she wasn't lying. (She knocked it over, using psychic powers.) They all protest that Matilda didn't move at all, and the Trunchbull is forced to back off.
  • Unlike in the movie, Matilda proves that she did knock over the water glass, by recreating it for Miss Honey. Miss Honey is so fascinated that she wants to help Matilda by practicing. It's not until Matilda learns that Miss Honey needs help — to get her house and inheritance back — that she decides to train on her own.
  • Matilda's final victory over the Trunchbull.

  • Matilda gets a bit of one when she calls out her dad on his monstrous sham of a used-car-lot... and the glued-on-hat prank she plays after he berates her for calling him out.
  • Matilda's first, unintentional use of her telekinesis blows up the Wormwoods' TV set, interrupting their vapid laughter over the game show Harry has been forcing her to watch right after he rips up her library book; the look of sheer frustration and fury in her eyes just before it happens, accompanied by the eerie music, sells the buildup perfectly. Not only is it an excellent moment of well-deserved payback for their cruelty and stupidity, but it serves as foreshadowing for the retribution she will heap upon an even worse monster in the form of the Trunchbull.
  • Matilda figuring out her father's total profit on the four cars he sold for a day. She remembers the cost and the sale of each while Michael struggles to write everything down.
  • Amanda Thripp gets one as an Establishing Character Moment, to boot. The Trunchbull corners her on the playground for wearing pigtails. The lady eventually tosses her over the fence for saying "but". Does Amanda freak out, the way Lavender and Hortensia do about getting cornered by the Trunchbull? No. She stands her ground and defends her pigtails because her mom likes them. Then, after getting tossed over the fence, she picks some flowers to give to Miss Honey while crash-landing, stands up, shakes the dirt off her overalls, and waves to the students. Now that is a Badass Bystander!
  • Despite her Dark and Troubled Past with Trunchbull's abuse, Miss Honey never let it twist her into anyone but the sweet, kindly teacher she is today. The narrator even comments that like any good teacher, she never lets her issues affect either her teaching or her relationship with the students.
  • During the two-times tables class discussion, Miss Honey explains that eventually they'd be able to multiply any numbers, whether it was 2 × 7—which the class answers correctly as 14—or 13 × 379. This amuses most of the class, but then Matilda shocks everyone by answering 4,927 without batting an eyelash. Miss Honey then multiplies it by hand and determines she is correct.
  • Bruce (the fat kid) eats a whole cake (the size of a fat kid). This is a triumph of the human spirit and not only do the other kids cheer him on, but you will also be tempted to follow suit.
    • It's even more awesome when Trunchbull smashes the glass platter over his head. While that is a horrible thing to do to a kid, it gives two more awesome points for Bruce: 1. He is durable enough to take a heavy glass platter over the head with nothing worse than a loud belch; and 2. It gives Bruce the satisfaction that the aforementioned action meant he got to Trunchbull, showing us a glimpse of her Villainous Breakdown.
    • Similarly, Matilda, followed by her fellow students, standing up and cheering for Bruce when he shows signs of giving up, continuing to support him even as the Trunchbull screams for quiet. It's their encouragement that gives Bruce the strength he needs to polish off the whole cake, even licking the platter!
    • The entire cast also did a live reenactment performance of the famous chocolate cake scene during a live reunion special and even baked the same cake for the event!
    • Even before the full cake arrives, Bruce gets some awesome moments in the scene. When the Trunchbull drags him onstage and accuses him of stealing the dessert, he refuses to admit that he actually stole anything. When the Trunchbull snarls that her cake is the most delicious in the world, Bruce calmly replies, "My mom's is better," quietly standing up to her (and earning a shocked gasp from the other students). And finally, when Miss Trunchbull tells him to eat a slice, he doesn't lose his cool and politely says, "I don't want any, thank you." Bruce clearly knows that Miss Trunchbull is furious at him, and the fact that he doesn't back down and even sasses at her shows a remarkable amount of courage.
  • Miss Honey's method of teaching eight-year-old children to spell "difficulty" is pretty cool.
    Mrs D. Mrs I. Mrs FFI.
    Mrs C. Mrs U. Mrs LTY.
  • Lavender putting the newt in Miss Trunchbull's glass as revenge for the Trunchbull locking up Matilda in the Chokey. Then with some signals, she conveys to Miss Honey where Matilda is and is relieved when seeing her best friend busted out of the Iron Maiden thanks to their teacher.
  • Likewise, Matilda refuses to give up Lavender. Unlike in the book where she genuinely had no idea, Matilda was studying the newt with Bruce and the others before class. Matilda stands her ground but says the truth that she didn't put the newt into the water jug. Later, Lavender thanks her for not telling. Matilda smiles and says, "Best friends never tell."
  • As frightening as it is, Trunchbull earns a villainous one when she absolutely lays into Harry Wormwood on the phone over The Alleged Car he sold her:
    Trunchbull: WORMWOOOOOOOD! You useless used car salesman, I want you right here now! With another car! [...] YES, I know what 'caveat emptor' means, you low-life LIAR! I'm gonna sue you, I'll burn down that showroom and then take that no-good jalopy of yours and shove it up your BAZOOGA! When I'm finished with you, you're gonna look like roadkill!
  • And credit where it's due, not only did Trunchbull realize someone had been by from the chocolate box's lid being askew, she detected that they were still around just by sniffing the lid and then scenting the air like a bloodhound. She also jumps straight over the banister from the second floor to the ground when she hears Matilda downstairs, landing so hard she shakes the entire foyer and knocks down the chandelier.
  • Miss Honey thinks on her feet when she and Matilda are trapped in Trunchbull's house, picking up a shot-put and throwing it around the room to distract Trunchbull from going after Matilda. Later on, she tries to save Matilda from getting busted by claiming she was the one who messed around in Trunchbull's house.
  • In the scene before the big climactic sequence with Trunchbull's comeuppance... Matilda goes to Trunchbull's house and uses her telekinesis to simulate a haunting. Among the chaos; Ms. Trunchbull's portrait (of her as an Olympic athlete standing on the field with a javelin) flies off the mantle into the fireplace (and gets burned to ash) and the portrait of Magnus flies down the stairs and takes its rightful place on the mantle! Even better is Trunchbull's horrified reaction:
  • The fact that all the children read aloud the message from "Magnus" as it's being written on the chalkboard, freaking the Trunchbull out even further, is a subtle one, as most kids their age can't read that well; Miss Honey is clearly a very good teacher.
  • Miss Honey also gets a slight one when she finally stands up to the Trunchbull.
  • A villainous but nevertheless impressive moment: after Matilda uses chalk to simulate a message from Magnus, the Trunchbull panics and gets pelted with erasers, then faints dead away, as she's extremely superstitious. As she's lying on the floor, the kids slowly walk over to her... and she opens one of her eyes, jumps up, and immediately goes on the attack. Then, despite all of the strange terror she endures thanks to Matilda's telekinesis — watching a child she throws out the window fly back in, then getting trapped on a globe that spins out of control — she still manages to recover fast enough to try to attack Lavender, who's only saved when Matilda pulls her up into the air. Yes, she's ultimately taken down, but the fact that the Trunchbull was able to maintain enough stamina and strength to put up one hell of a fight against what she thought was a ghost — her greatest fear — deserves a few awesome points.
  • The Trunchbull ends up lying in the hallway after failing to take control of Miss Honey's class; all of Miss Honey's students then throw their lunches at her while the other children of the school watch. When the Trunchbull finally gets up and turns around, she gets a spectacular Oh, Crap! expression upon seeing every single studentall of the kids she's terrorized and bullied for years — standing silently, armed with their lunches, along with toilet paper and water balloons (this is the image pictured above). They proceed to absolutely pummel her, sending her running from the school, humiliated and embarrassed. It's the perfect revenge for the cruelty she's inflicted on them — a Child Hater who is defeated and overwhelmed by the very children she so despised.
    • In an awesome Brick Joke, Bruce Bogtrotter, whose actions are described above, is among the students who take down the Trunchbull with their lunches. What does he do? He marches right up to the Trunchbull and smears chocolate cake across her mouth!
  • The Feds likely got this when they nailed the Wormwoods in Guam.
  • 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!
    Zinnia Wormwood: Miss Honey doesn't want you! Why would she want some snotty, disobedient kid?
    Miss Honey: (with furious sincerity) Because she is a spectacularly wonderful child and I love her!
  • Doubles as a Crowning Moment of Funny, but:
    Matilda: Mom, I have the adoption papers!
    (Pulls forms out of Zinnia's purse)
    Zinnia Wormwood: Hey, where'd you get that?
    Matilda: (gives her a triumphant look) From a book in the library! I've had them since I was old enough to xerox!
  • It's also pretty awesome that the epilogue states Miss Honey became principal of the school, and had it expanded into a high school because the children didn't want to leave.

  • "The School Song" sequence where two dancers would climb on the school gates as alphabet blocks are inserted through the holes and they adeptly climb on them on lyrical cue.
  • Matilda's class standing up to the Trunchbull by misspelling words.
  • Matilda rallying the students to cover up the Trunchbull's latest victim with their coats, then telling the headmistress that the boy suffers from narcolepsy, and therefore couldn't be guilty of the (imagined) crime. Not only does this show Matilda using her cleverness to help others, but the fact that the rest of the kids are willing to go along with the charade foreshadows the "strength in numbers" message of the musical as a whole.
  • Matilda standing up to Ms. Trunchbull during gym class when she starts tormenting a young boy.
    "Leave him alone! You Big! Fat! BULLY!"
  • The Trunchbull's show-stopping... eh, workout number "The Smell of Rebellion" definitely counts as one. She puts the kids through insane choreography involving landing mats and vaults, then uses Insane Troll Logic to get one of them to call her "mad," then punishes them even more for it... all to the music of Tim Minchin. If you're not head-banging by the end of the song, they're doing it wrong.
  • The Flashback moments with The Escapologist/Magnus Honey breaking down the door to where his daughter was. Given his profession, it was an easy feat but adding to the righteous fury.
    Escapologist: This demon! This villain! This monster! She has sullied the memory of my wife! She has betrayed the trust of her own sister! She has shown cruelty to the most precious reality of my marriage! Bullying children is a game, is it? Then let us see what this creature thinks she can do when the wrath of a grown man stands before her!
    • Added to this is in the Movie Adaptation, they have it that this same rage even gave the Escapologist the same kind of telekinetic powers Matilda has.

    The 2022 film 
  • The energetic way that Matilda races through the house while preparing a prank on her father and joyously signing "Naughty" is even livelier than most to all stage versions due to a moment where she is walking on her hands from one end of the roof to another while still singing.
  • The way the "When I Grow Up" music number scene is played: children daydreaming about what they would want to do as grown-ups.
  • Matilda goes out to the chokey and tests her powers by demolishing it in one go.
  • Trunchbull gets chased off the school grounds with even more style than the 1990 film. Matilda constructs an enormous monster out of chains, having it pretend to be Magnus and smash all of the new Chokeys. Then, Matilda uses her powers to pigtail Trunchbull's hair and tails her around By the Hair just like Trunchbull did to Amanda Thripp.
    • She also repeats the hammer-throw, with Trunchbull about to suffer severely on the landing... only relent at the last moment and set her down gently, having already sent the message she'd intended. Unlike the original movie where Matilda's powers appear more restrained, there's no doubt that Matilda could put her through some Family-Unfriendly Violence .
    • When Matilda is doing the hammer throw on Trunchbull, there’s a shot of Amanda smiling - she’s not unhappy that Trunchbull is getting a taste of her own medicine.
  • The students use pulleys to pull down the statue Trunchbull built of herself within minutes of her departure from the school.
  • Matilda's response to Miss Honey's warning about Miss Trunchbull:
    Miss Honey: You should be. She's dangerous.
    Matilda: So am I.