THE SECRET GARDEN is a beautifully photographed family film based on the classic children’s story by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In India in 1906, Mary Lennox, the young daughter of a British ambassador, is sick of her life. Mary spends her time alone, since her parents are too busy. Isolated, Mary develops a sour disposition. When her parents die suddenly, Mary sheds no tears. She is shipped to England to live with her uncle in his manor. Mrs. Medlock (Maggie Smith) treats Mary like an unwanted child. Mary finds a key that opens her deceased aunt’s private garden that has been sealed for 10 years. Mary begins working to revive the “sleeping” flowers. Dickon, a local boy, helps Mary bring the garden back to life. Mary also discovers Colin, her 10-year-old cousin who was born when his mother died and has become a hypochondriac who fears the outside world. Mary resolves to help him experience more than his room.
The friendship that develops between Mary, Colin and Dickon succeeds in transforming the claustrophobic atmosphere of the manor into a world of hope and happiness. Love prevails over despair, and life is restored to the manor. There is no offensive language in the movie, but one scene shows three children chanting a magical spell around a bonfire. According to the director, this is not intended to be witchcraft, but a children’s fantasy. The film is beautifully photographed, contains interesting performances and has a poignant message of death and rebirth.
(B, NA, M) This classic children's story tells how love can overcome despair and bring rebirth to the most hardened heart. There is no offensive language, or violence, but one scene shows three children chanting a magical spell around a bonfire, but according to the director, this is not intended to be witchcraft but a children's fantasy. However, some of the Christian references in the novel have been deleted.