The Secret Garden (2020)

Mary Lennox is born in India to wealthy British parents who never wanted her. When her parents suddenly die, she is sent back to England to live with her uncle. She meets her sickly cousin, and the two children find a wondrous secret garden lost in the grounds of Misselthwaite Manor.

I had the opportunity to watch this new production of the classic Frances Hodgson Burnett novel shortly after viewing the 1975 seven part series based on the same book. I thought it would be interesting to compare the two versions.
On the plus side for this movie version, the quality of the production is much higher, with stunning colors and lovely scenes and vistas. It is also very imaginative. In fact, there is a strong element of fantasy throughout, showing both scenes from the past and images in the present time of people who are dead as if they were still alive.
Of course, it being a movie instead of a seven part series means that there is less time to develop the plot, so some is left out. And perhaps for the modern audience, there is a dramatic plot device used to hasten the ending that I suspect was not in the book at all. Now I feel like a I should re-read the book after decades since my first reading, just to compare these adaptations to the source material. Not that I would automatically decide the one closest to the story is the better one, but just out of curiosity. I think both versions have reason to like them: this new version for the camera work and imaginative scenes, and the old series for the patient plot and simple,charm.

Heyday Films, StudioCanal by Marc Munden, Jack Thorne, Frances Hodgson Burnett.
Stars: Dixie Egerickx, Richard Hansell, David Verrey, Tommy Gene Surridge.

Genres: Drama, Family, Fantasy

Keywords: secret garden yorkshire orphan based on children's book post war early 1900s


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