About 20 years ago, give or take a few years, I read The Secret Garden and fell in love with it. It’s one of the few classics I’ve actually read since most of them bore me. So when I heard they were remaking The Secret Garden movie in 2020, I was extremely happy. And when I saw the poster and noticed that the new movie would be produced by the same folks who produced Harry Potter my heart filled with glee. I absolutely love the Harry Potter movies so I was really looking forward to seeing The Secret Garden (2020) movie and writing this review. But alas, 2020 has reminded us, that we shouldn’t get too excited about anything this year.
Here’s My Full Review Of The Secret Garden 2020 Movie Below
With all the technology we have today, I have to say I’m quite disappointed.
I know, I know, that sounds extremely rude and I probably sound like an ungrateful millennial brat who doesn’t appreciate the art of filmmaking. But hear me out for a second.
When I read this book as a child, almost 20 years ago, I absolutely loved it! I wanted to run through the secret garden. I imagined what a magical garden would look like, and big tall flowers and leaves, just don’t quite cut it.
I get where they were going with this, but I wasn’t blown away! I didn’t get the same feeling I got when I read the books. (Aside from the fact that I was bored at the beginning, just like I usually am when I read classics.)
The Secret Garden took about 45-60 mins to really get interesting and if I’m being honest, it only takes my mom about 30 seconds to fall asleep. Hell, kids can’t sit still for an entire hour if they’re bored out of their freaking minds! And isn’t this supposed to be a family movie?
So yeah, I expected more!
Especially since they proudly announced that the Harry Potter producer was producing this as well because The Secret Garden just didn’t quite meet my (extremely high) expectations.
The garden just wasn’t as magical as I hoped it would be visually. However, I will note that I did watch this on my laptop, during the day, so maybe things would have been different if we were watching it on a much bigger screen at the theaters? I don’t know.
What I do know, is that my kid said she didn’t like the movie 3x before she finally got into it.
That’s a lot considering we were sitting in bed, and she almost jumped out to do something else. And my 8-year-old is pretty patient, so I can only imagine how other kids would react if they had to sit still for an hour while they waited for a movie to finally become interesting. (Which it did, by the way. And my daughter definitely enjoyed it once things got better.)
However, she was scared at the beginning. But aside from my kid being bored, and scared for almost an hour, it wasn’t that bad.
I mean the scenery was beautiful! But I think that’s only something an adult can appreciate. Kids don’t care about pretty trees or leaves. Or the way someone films a kid falling to the ground (even if it was filmed really cool) which is one of the scenes I loved the most.
Kids also can’t appreciate a damn good score, no matter how amazing it is! (Which if you read my initial thoughts post here, you know that I REALLY loved the scoring in this film.)
So for a family with young kids, this isn’t the best movie to watch, but if you’re a millennial who grew up reading the book you may be able to appreciate this film.
Even though I expected more pizzazz from the secret garden, and the beginning was a bit hard to watch with my daughter, I still enjoyed it. Yes, I needed the garden to be more magical, but the score was amazing, and I absolutely loved how this movie was filmed.
Especially the way Mary’s thoughts were always whiter and brighter than the actual film, which to me represented how happy she was when she was thinking about her parents.
Oh and there are some great lessons in this as well, but they’re extremely subtle.
But I mean The Secret Garden was still way better than Little Women, for sure!
Although, the book was WAY better than this film. (And one of the cast members actually agrees that the book is better. But you’ll have to watch our interview below to see which character prefers the book over the film.)
Check out our interview below
Overall The Secret Garden is a decent film to watch at home but may have been better on a big screen in theaters.
But then again, not many families could watch this film for $20 (which is the current price to rent the film online) if they saw it in theaters. So that’s another dilemma.
However, whether this movie is worth paying $20 to watch or not, is totally up to you. It also depends on if you have an extra $20 right now to “throw away”.
I mean, there’s still a pandemic going on right now, so it’s hard for me to say spend $20 on a movie you’re not going to immediately fall in love with, especially when cash may be hard to come by right now.
But if you’re not strapped for cash and you’re tired of binging Netflix this may definitely be worth getting for a family movie night … as long as your kids aren’t super young.
I do feel like this would be a better movie to watch in theaters on a big screen with popcorn and a drink with your kid on a Saturday morning as a calm start to your weekend though. (Once you get over the incredibly emotional ending!) So I don’t know.
Maybe this will help you make up your mind …