Did Matilda have powers in the Netflix musical?

Cameron Frew
Alisha Weir on the Matilda the Musical poster

Matilda the Musical is streaming on Netflix now – but does Matilda have powers in this adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story?

As per Netflix – in which it’s hit the top 10 list – Matilda the Musical “tells the story of an extraordinary girl, with a vivid imagination, who dares to take a stand to change her story with miraculous results.”

For most people, Matilda has been a part of our lives since a young age, whether it was reading Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel in school or watching Danny DeVito and Mara Wilson’s beloved 1996 masterpiece.

However, with the new adaptation hitting Netflix this Christmas, some viewers have been left asking: did Matilda have powers?

Did Matilda have powers in the musical?

Yes, Matilda has powers in the musical; more specifically, telekinetic powers. She also powers in the book, so there isn’t any change from Roald Dahl’s novel.

In the musical, Matilda slowly realizes the extent of her magical abilities, but they first erupt when she’s confronted by Miss Trunchbull during her Full Metal Jacket P.E. lesson. She tips a water jug, causing a newt to land on the villainous headmistress, which crawls into her clothes.

Matilda uses her powers just twice after: once to prove to Miss Honey that she can do it, at which point she goes back to her titchy home and learns the true story of her family; and again to scare Miss Trunchbull, writing on the chalkboard from a distance, pretending to be Miss Honey’s father in order to convince her to give his daughter’s home back.

While open to interpretation, it’s believed Matilda has powers as a result of her supreme intellect, and how it’s under-appreciated and underused by her unloving parents and adults who don’t give her an outlet for her brain.

In the 1996 film, this is similar – however, Mara Wilson’s Matilda uses her powers more frequently and doesn’t lose them fully when she’s adopted by Miss Honey.

“That’s a huge problem with the American film – they want her to be a superhero,” creator Tim Minchin told Time Out.

“But she’s not just a magic kid. It’s not until she goes to school and Miss Trunchbull becomes this evil woman who keeps changing the rules that the telekinesis comes.

“The magic happens because of Matilda’s absolute fury and desire to defend the people she loves. To short-change that is really annoying.”

Matilda the Musical is streaming on Netflix now. You can read our review here.

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