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The Secret Garden (1993) Film Review


Kate Maberly

Mary Lennox

Maggie Smith

Mrs Medlock

John Lynch

Lord Archibald

Heydon Prowse

Colin Craven

Andrew Knott

Dickon Sowerby

Laura Crossley

Martha Sowerby

The Film

  • Director: Agnieszka Holland
  • Producer: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins
  • Genre: Family, Fantasy, Drama
  • Budget: $18,000,000

The Film

Set in 1911, young Mary Lenox is orphaned when her parents are killed in an earthquake in India. So the little girl is shipped home from India to live with her Uncle in his mansion. 10 yr old Mary was never shown any love or emotion from her mother, who much preferred partying and socialising than spending time with her daughter. So it is little wonder that Mary has grown up to be a cold and hard little girl, showing no emotion or empathy towards other people.

Mrs Medlock, Lord Craven's servant, is in charge of taking care of Mary. But she has a job on her hands with this young lady as Mary is so rude towards her. Ordered to stay in her room, young Mary has other ideas when she starts to hear noises. So she starts exploring the house. As she then starts to explore the large gardens she comes across a locked door, thanks to the help of a little robin. The garden behind the locked door has not been accessed since her Aunt Lillia accidentally died 10 years previously. Mary eventually finds the key to the secret garden though.

Meanwhile, Mary meets Dickon, who is the brother to the housemaid, Martha. Dickon say he can talk to animals. And there are lots of cute furry animals in this secret garden. You can see him whistling to the birds in the film, which is cute. And then there is Colin Craven, who is Mary's cousin. It was his mother, LIllia, who had died in childbirth. He has been confined to his room and says he is dying. Much like Mary, he is rude and obstinate. But what we see in this film is Mary convincing him that he is not in fact dying, and encourages him to leave his room where he has spent the last 10 years. Colin's father, Lord Archibald, is often away and is so protective of his son. This is understandable, but the poor boy doesn't seem to have any sort of life and is looked after by Archibald's staff. He hasn't even seen daylight as the shutters on his windows are always closed.

The 3 children strike up a friendship and Colin learns not only to walk, but that there is life outside the 4 walls of his room. Mary also starts planting seeds in the secret garden and restoring the garden to its former glory.


My Thoughts

This story has been told many times over the years. This is the first time I've seen the 1993 version of this film though. Watching this has taken me back to my childhood. I had forgotten how good it is. I really love how Mary changes from the hard-hearted little girl to a warm, cheerful and generous girl. The same could be said for Colin. His father, Archibald Craven, has always been over protective of him, which was why he was made to stay in his room for all these years. But when Mary and Dickon start taking him out, he seems to get a new lease of life. It's really quite endearing to watch how these 3 children learn and grow from each other. The change in both Mary and Craven's life is quite magical to watch onscreen.

Mrs Medlock, played by the wonderful Maggie Smith, plays an excellent role in this film. She is in control of looking after the children and worries about Craven and his health. But what we see towards the end of the film is so heart warming. I love the reaction of both Mrs Madlock and Archibald Craven when they see these children playing.

I loved the acting with the children. The 3 actors who plays Mary, Craven and Dickon played really strong parts and they seemed to have a good acting relationship onscreen. Although Archibald Craven isn't in the film as much as some of the other actors, I still think he plays a good role. You get the sense that he worries over his son and is an over protective father. This is only natural after what he's been through, but I also think it's good to see that the son, Craven has made some friends and got out into the fresh air and is starting to learn that there is life outside of his bedroom.

The Secret Garden Official Trailer

© 2020 Louise Powles


Shannon Henry from Texas on October 06, 2020:

As a young child, this was the first version of the story that I ever saw. Just seeing your review of it brings back memories. It's still one of my favorite family films.

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on September 25, 2020:

I loved this movie and really enjoyed your review and perceptions of the cast and film!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on July 15, 2020:

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I've never seen Maggie Smith act in a drama I didn't like, and the changes in the children are tempting. Thanks for this review of a film I''d like to watch.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 15, 2020:

The movie seems quite watchable from the review. Thank you for sharing.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on July 14, 2020:

A great review of the movie, ‘The Secret Garden.’ Makes me want to see the movie. You have covered it nicely.

Thank you for sharing.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on July 13, 2020:

"The Secret Garden" has some lovely aspects. I've read the book many times. I think I would enjoy seeing the film that you've described very much. Thanks for sharing the review, Louise.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 12, 2020:

A good review and I would love to see the film. Thanks for presenting the information.

Lorna Lamon on July 10, 2020:

I have always loved this story which has never lost its charm for me. The ending just makes me feel good. A great review Louise and I think I would enjoy the original. Take care.

Cheryl E Preston from Roanoke on July 10, 2020:

This is the never f my favorites. I watched it with my children many times. “I have spoken, all depart”.

Ivana Divac from Serbia on July 10, 2020:

I really enjoyed reading this. Great review!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 10, 2020:

I think this is a story I would enjoy. You thorough writeup of the movie gives us many details, which sound very good to me. Thank you for this film review, Louise.

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