Critic Reviews



Based on 26 critic reviews provided by
Like all great stories for children, The Secret Garden contains powerful truths just beneath the surface. There is always a level at which the story is telling children about more than just events; it is telling them about the nature of life.
It is, first and foremost, a visual delight, a Victorian picture book come to life, from its brief prologue in India through its darkly enchanted recreation of Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire moors.
Executed to near perfection in all artistic departments, this superior adaptation of the perennial favorite novel will find its core public among girls , but should prove satisfying enough to a range of audiences to make it a solid performer for Warner Bros.' family entertainment banner.
The Secret Garden is as much a movie for adults with keen memories of childhood as it is a children's movie.
As a children's movie with a fine sense of magic (without fantasy) and a great deal of feeling (without sentimentality), this beats the usual Disney junk hands down, and adults will find it an expert piece of storytelling.
The Secret Garden unearths a few inventions of its own, it bears its own, quiet charms.
The Secret Garden combines drama, fantasy, and a little bit of light Gothic horror (the old house with its strange noises). The film is visually stunning, from the eerie insides of Misselthwaite Manor to the time-lapse photography of blooming flowers. Zbigniew Preisner's score adds to the atmosphere without ever becoming obvious or intrusive.
The movie's dark themes, unhurried pace and talkiness make it something of a gamble for many children. But older children - especially those who have been asking specific questions about death - may find some nourishment in this garden.
The movie is earnest, heartfelt, and, for all its lavishness, rather plodding.
Rather than a fresh breeze, it's the stale air of gilded calculation, the uncomfortable feeling that things are excessively just so, that overhangs much that is genuinely appealing about this film.

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