The Secret Garden (1993)
Appropriateness Rating: Without Reservations
Entertainment Rating: Great
The Secret Garden (1993) is a British movie about a girl named Mary Lennox whose parents die in India leaving her to live with her uncle in Yorkshire back in England. Mary explores the secrets of her uncle’s large manor house and discovers some hidden family secrets along the way. This is a wonderful movie that the whole family can enjoy together. If you’re looking for good, clean movies to watch or show your kids this is one of the best.
Warnings: Colonialist racism, prejudice towards servants
Mary is born and raised in a very rich/privileged environment. She is used to getting what she wants and being served. She is sometimes rude to her servants and considers herself better than them, but by the end of the film her attitude begins to change.
There is also a scene in which a character compares her to an Indian and she becomes very offended and displays a racist attitude towards Indians. This comes from her position as part of the colonial system in which the rich, British colonialists looked down on their Indian subjects. This attitude doesn’t really change in the movie, but it also doesn’t play a very big role and can be ignored or quickly discussed with your children.
Ideas and Morals: marrying cousins, pet dogs
In western society it is considered wrong for cousins to get married and this is mentioned in the movie, but as we know in Islam it is permissible to marry cousins which are not Mahrams. Your children will probably already know this, and it can be mentioned or discussed.Mary’s uncle owns a pet dog which he keeps inside the house. This can also be discussed.
Messages: importance of family, overcoming selfishness, kindness to animals, connection to nature
The main theme of this movie is Mary’s healing as she learns to love the people around her and also helps them to show their love for each other. She becomes much closer to her uncle’s family and helps them live with the loss of her aunt. Mary and her family all overcome their selfishness in a way as they learn to care about each other.
Other big messages in the movie are connection to nature and the importance of treating animals kindly. The movie has some beautiful scenes in the gardens and fields around the mansion.