Netflix Traumatises Child Abuse Victims: In the new Matilda the Musical movie on Netflix, Emma Thompson and a team of makeup artists did a great job of making her look like the mean Agatha Trunchbull.
But explicit scenes of Miss Trunchbull’s violence may scar children and people who have been abused as children. Roald Dahl is known for his stories about bad things that happen to children.
For example, in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, wayward children get their bodies cut up as punishment. In Matilda, the Trunchbull “grabbed me by one ear, sped me to the Chokey, threw me inside, and locked the door.” I came out all chopped up.”
In The Juniper Tree, by Grimms, a stepmother chops off her son’s head and cooks him in a stew for his father. Should these books that hurt children be banned?
I don’t think so, because when you read a story, you can interpret it and get some distance from the images, but when you watch a horrible event on the big screen, there’s no way for a child to get away or avoid remembering the violent images.
It’s especially powerful in the Netflix movie Matilda, which is based on the stage musical by Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly. This is not only because of the famous pigtails scene (which was also in the 1996 Danny DeVito-directed Matilda).
In which Amanda Thripp is swung around by her pigtails and we hear her screams and the sound of her pigtails being pulled from her head, but also because of the new addition of an even more traumatic scene of mutilation, in which Eric is lifted into the air by his ears while Miss Trunchbull stretches them.
Simply put, it’s worse to see these violent acts and hear how sad the children are than to read Dahl’s stories. Films can be traumatic for kids and make child abuse victims feel bad. The big musical pieces and special effects also make suffering seem like nothing.
Abuse of children has long been used in movies. In the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest, Joan Crawford beats and strangles her adopted daughter Christina, including a famous scene with a wire hanger.
Since it came out, the phrase “no wire hangers” has become a pop culture symbol instead of a way to teach people about child abuse. Faye Dunaway said that it turned into a camp.
More to Read:
- Carole Cook, the Star of ‘sixteen Candles,’ Died at the Age of 98!
- Has Elon Musk Purchased Google? Rumors Dispelled
- Selena Gomez Enjoys a Girls’ Night Out With Gracie and Bff Nicola Peltz Beckham
In the 2017 movie version of Stephen King’s IT, Pennywise rips off Georgie’s arm and drags him to his death in the sewers. In the movie M3gan, a boy’s ear is ripped off by a robot doll.
In a time when we know about the long-term effects of trauma, showing violent scenes of abuse in a movie with a tone that makes a joke out of a serious issue seems so simplistic and contradictory.
But M3gan and IT are 15-year-old horror movies, while Matilda the Musical is a PG. It is called “comic brutality” by the British Board of Film Classification. Seriously?
Putting child abuse in the same category as comedy is a sure way to put survivors down. But it makes you wonder if any violence against children should be allowed in a PG-rated movie like Matilda, where the audience is at such a crucial psychological stage.
Children of today need to learn about child abuse, but is a movie musical with a lot of dancing, cruelty, and mutilation the right way to do it?