Choice: Film - The Secret Garden
Monday 22 December 1997
Frances Hodgson Burnett's captivating children's novel made an enormous impression on Agnieszka Holland, who read it at seven years old in Poland during the Stalinist era. The depiction of an unloved child fighting loss and death and discovering light, hope and happiness via a secret garden contained images so powerful that forty years later she filmed it. The glowing result proved to be a surprise hit - short-sighted studio executives had been unconvinced. A tale of Victorian childhood? What American kid wants to see that? Where's the (dread word) "relevance"? Happily, the film went down a storm. With Maggie Smith on hand to lend an air of comic eccentricity, little could go wrong, but look deeper and you'll see another, more solid reason for success. The screenplay was written by Caroline Thompson, who also gave us the spellbinding Edward Scissorhands.
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