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  • Angst? What Angst?: Matilda is The Unfavourite, stuck in a grade beneath her intellect, and faced with a headmistress from Hell. In spite of this, she's a cheerful kid who is genuinely nice to pretty much everyone.
    • Pretty much one of the subtext points of the book, I think. Matilda was in a crappy situation, more than one actually, but remained a good person throughout. She's more than a survivor, she's come through her ordeals wiser and still human.
  • Complete Monster: Agatha Trunchbull. She enjoys throwing kids out of windows, throwing a girl like she's in an Olympic hammer tossing event, and, in the movie and the book, is implied to have killed Miss Honey's father. Not to mention that in the book it was implied that she BEAT Ms. Honey as a child.
    • It's outright stated that she physically abused Miss Honey in the movie:

  Trunchbull: I broke your arm once, I can do it again, Jenny.

    • About the her killing Magnus, it's practically confirmed during her downfall, at least in the movie. When Matilda writes that Magnus will "get you like you got me", Trunchbull is horrified and holds her throat, implying that's how she 'got him'. She'd only react like that if she truly did kill him.
      • The exact wording in the film is in the book. While I don't recall if the Trunchbull grabs her throat in the book, her reaction pretty much says she murdered Magnus in the book as well. Even though she was terrified in the book, you would expect her to express herself if she _didn't_ kill him. As she remains quiet and runs away, guilt seems verified in the book as well.
  • Fridge Horror: In the book, it is mentioned in passing that Matilda read Tess of the D'Ubervilles, which deals with the titular character having been raped. It's mentioned to highlight Matilda's status as a Child Prodigy, but still, it's more than a bit horrifying to think about a five year old reading something of that subject matter.
    • This can actually be Truth in Television for a lot of early readers who aren't given appropriate books by their parents. They'll pick up every book they come across, before understanding any of the subject matter. Not saying it isn't horrifying, but it's not uncommon.
  • Fridge Logic: In the movie, the Wormwoods go to Guam to get away from the FBI. Guam is a territory of the U.S. and the FBI would certainly be able to find them there.
    • Fridge Brilliance: They are really that dumb.
    • More movie Fridge Logic: The kids not only pelt the Trunchbull with food, but with WATER BALLOONS. Considering the way Crunchem Hall is run, how and why would they have water balloons on their person at the time?
      • In the book at least, it's described how some children would use pranks and practical jokes to fight back against the tyranny of the school, and these children are viewed as heroes by the others. So it's not that unthinkable that a few students would have some water balloons hidden away.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "I became a woman very quickly!"

 Miss Trunchbull: I need a car. Inexpensive, but reliable. Can you service me?

Harry Wormwood: In a manner of speaking, yes.

    • Also this:

 Matilda: It's not trash. It's lovely. It's Moby Dick by Herman Melville.

Harry Wormwood: Moby what!?

    • Miss Trunchbull calls Matilda a 'piss worm'.
  • Karma Houdini: Considering that the Trunchbull is guilty of horrific child abuse and is all but guaranteed to have murdered someone, her Humiliation Conga at the end of the film is nowhere near what she really deserves.
    • Unless you consider her "never being seen or heard from again" as an implication she was Driven to Suicide...
      • Or arrested and given life in prison.
    • Matilda's parents would be a straighter example, seeing as they literally left to evade the law.
      • Except they ran to another US Territory where the FBI have full jurisdiction and could catch them easily.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The Trunchbull plows through this again and again, first with every sadistic punishment she inflicts on her students (especially The Chokey), and then in hindsight when we discover that she is Miss Honey's aunt, physically abused her as a child, and almost certainly offed her father, framing it as a suicide.
  • Nausea Fuel: The Trunchbull. The scenes involving chocolate.
    • "Much too good for children!"
    • "Her sweat and blood went into this cake!"
  • Nightmare Fuel: The Chokey.
  • Tear Jerker: In an early draft of the book, Matilda died when trying to use telekinesis to lift a truck in a car crash. It kept that way until Roald got the idea of Magnus' story, which is also very sad.
    • Mara Wilson, the actress who played Matilda, lost her mother to breast cancer during filming. Her adult co-actors noted how bravely maturely she dealt with it, and the film ended up dedicated to her memory.
    • Heck, just the beginning of the movie. Watching a tiny little girl walk ten blocks to the library, alone, every day, just because she loves learning so much and nobody at home will help her...that's a Tear Jerker.
  • The Woobie: Miss Honey, Matilda. In the book version, the school cook as well. She's not gross like the movie version. Here, she's just a frail, old woman who disapproves of the abuse about to happen, but clearly has no choice but to play her role.
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