Introductory analysis- Matilda (1996)

  1. Introductory analysis- Matilda (1996)

This clip is from a film called Matilda which was released in 1996. It is based off of a book of the same title which was written by the internationally famous best seller Roald Dahl. Matilda is one of his most famous works. The story revolves around a child genius Matilda’s adventures at school. In this particular scene Matilda is scaring her headmistress, Ms. Trunchbull, by using her psychokinesis powers. There are many reasons why this scene is well made.

First of all, this scene is well made because of the acting. Even though, Pam Ferris, the actress for Ms. Trunchbull, speaks rarely, one can clearly tell that Ms. Trunchbull is very scared and suspicious that things are moving around her. just by her movements. For example, this can be seen in 2:27-2:29 when Ms. Trunchbull is suspiciously staring at the clock which had just struck 12AM. One can see that her acting is outstanding since she doesn’t lose her eyes contact with the clock until she is out of the frame which infers she is suspicious. Also the direction of her eyes are pointing at the clock which can help the audience focus on it.

Secondly, the scene is well made due to good usage of sound. Sound is an essential element to film which can alter how the audience is viewing the scene. For example, in this scene talking is very minimal which can help the audience concentrate on the moving objects and action that is going on in the scene. However, even thought there isn’t much talking, there is constant music that is added to enhance the scene. For example, from 3:01-3:17, one can see that the music becomes increasingly full of tension and scarier as the lights are flickering and the wind is blowing. This also corresponds to the actress’s facial expression which is full of terror.

Thirdly, the scene is well made due to good usage of Mise-En-Scene. Mise-En-Scene refers to the composition of the scene such as the props, actors, set design etc (“MISE-EN-SCENE”). However, one aspect of Mis-En-Scene which was done particularly well was the lighting that was used. The mood of this scene is very dark and the lighting used in the scene accurately displays this mood. The minimal lighting inside Ms. Trunchbull’s house is a dark yellow orange which creates a dark mood along side the pitch darkness which is seen outside of the house through windows. Also, there is a light source of a fire crackling as can be seen in 2:38-2:49 which is very important since this makes the light flicker on the actress’s face which adds to the mood as well. Shadows that are cast on the actresses face due to the minimal lighting is also important because shadows are often seen as eerie.

Moving on, cinematography plays a huge role in this scene as well. Appropriate filmmaking techniques were used in order to enhance the tension of this scene. For example, this can be seen in 2:00- 2:06. Two techniques of filmmaking were used side by side which is undershot and overhead shot. Undershot was used when Ms. Trunchbull is looking around and overhead shot is used to show Matilda looking up. These two techniques were well edited together because one can clearly see that Matilda is under Ms. Trunchbull just by referring to the camera angles that were used.

Lastly, great camera movement was used helping the narrative of the film as well. One can see that in scene 4:00-4:06, zooming in was used in to both the portrait of Magnus’s eyes and Ms. Trunchbull’s horrified eyes. This helps the narrative of the film because this hints that there is some guilt in Ms. Trunchbull about this man in the portrait.

Overall, Matilda is a great edited and put together film because of the appropriate elements of film it uses to enhance the scene.


2. Works Cited

Works Cited

“Matilda Miss Trunchbull House at Night Scene.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2015. <>.

“Mise-en-Scene.” UMBC. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Aug. 2015. <>.