Back To The Secret Garden

"OK"

Back To The Secret Garden Review


Moviegoers who fondly remember Agnieszka Holland's lovingly crafted 1993 version of the classic children's story The Secret Garden will be disappointed to learn that Back to the Secret Garden is not the sequel. Rather, it's the sequel to a 1987 version of the same story, only this one was produced as a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" TV movie. (To add to the confusion, this story apparently has nothing to do with the much-maligned book sequel, Return to the Secret Garden, nor is it the same film as another 2000 movie called Return to the Secret Garden.) But putting all the confusion aside, it's a safe bet that you won't want to see or read any of the sequels.

I never saw Hallmark's version, but I doubt it could hold a candle to Holland's. If this sequel is any guide, it was nothing to crow about. Back to the Secret Garden may hold minor interest for Anglophiles and/or children so young they can't comprehend plots, but the magic in the original garden is strikingly lacking in this rehash.

The story tells us of an orphan from Brooklyn named Lizzie (Camilla Belle -- dig your eyebrows, kid!) who is sent to a boarding school that has sprung up on the grounds where Mary Craven discovered the garden as a child. Now Mary is grown up and has entrusted the magic key to dowdy headmistress Sowerby (Joan Plowright), and the garden finds itself dying once again. She even cuts a new gate into the wall because she can't find the magic entrance! Only through sneaking into the garden to discover its secrets does Lizzie figure out the problem, ostensibly learning a few life lessons along the way while enhancing her horticultural abilities.

The plot is a considerable waste of time, just filler involving various spats among the children at the school and/or Miss Sowerby, all so we can get to the end, when we know perfectly well that Lizzie will figure out how to revive the garden. Dozens of supporting characters are introduced, but they have virtually nothing to do with Lizzie or the story, except to serve as obstacles between her and the garden. A stolen key actually consumes a third of the story. What's more is none of Lizzie's new friends find themselves changed much by the end of the movie, except they get to play and run around more.

Plowright plays Plowright, and most of the child actors are good in that mannered British style. Belle's Lizzie is a bit forced but not unwatchable, and for a TV movie the production values are reasonably high.

In the end, the movie is harmless, just as long as you don't find the original's been ruined along the way.



Back To The Secret Garden

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 2nd September 2001

Distributed by: Hallmark Entertainment

Production compaines: Hallmark Entertainment, Artisan Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 5.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael Tuchner

Producer:

Starring: as Martha Sowerby, as Will Weatherstaff, as Lady Mary Craven, as Sir Colin Craven, Aled Roberts as Robert, as Geraldine

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Advertisement
Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.