Retro Reaction 18.2 The Secret Garden (1993)

Here we have an often overlooked classic children’s film. 

The story follows the classic book Mary Lennox is the neglected child of a rich English couple living in India. Her parents die and she is shipped off to her next of kin Uncle. She meets a nephew who always believes that he is ill. Together they set about repairing the garden that belonged to her deceased auntie

Seems quite bleak for a children’s film right? That is because in many ways it is. 


Thankfully I think this film (and largely book) manage what so many children films fail to do. It mixes emotion (and understanding them) with great storytelling. It’s what Burnett did in the book translated to screen. It’s also one that is probably worth a re watch as an adult. It deals with grief as well as the emotion of feeling unwanted. I am sure that is something that most of us can relate to from time to time. 


In my early twenties i babysat for a friend of mine (during university days). The Secret Garden was the only film from their film collection that I recognised and so i put it in. The film had such an emotional impact even in my early twenties that I was almost tearful by the end. 


I fear that from reading this weeks Reaction you may feel the film particularly morbid. If certain parts of this film were watched out of context I would tend to be in agreement. But watched as a whole the story is more uplifting then morbid. It is the story of an emotional journey. Largely symbolised by the dying and rebirth of the Garden the children find. 


There’s also plenty of fun in the characters here. The evil (ish) Mrs Medlock for example or the broad Yorkshire servant girl (who’s character name escapes me) who encourages Mary to go outdoors. 

If your looking for a great romp of a film for all the family maybe look somewhere else on this list. But if you want a film that addresses loss, greif, neglect and healing take a look.

And when you’ve lived a little maybe revisit. 


Until next time. 


Have a Great Dayyyyyy!!!!!