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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 26 June 2002
I bought this for the kids (6 and 3 years old). It's one of those well known stories which has been superbly brought to life on DVD. I bought this DVD(along with a few others), because these titles are such a refreshing change to the Disney Classics and modern animated (although superb) Shreks of this current era. Somehow there is still no substitute for real children actors in real life settings when the performances are directed and produced as well as this. The kids watch at least one of these productions every week (I bought The Little Princess and Black Beauty at the same time). I recomend that you purchase these type of DVD for what they are - Greatly acted childrens stories from a seemingly never to come back age of innocence - brilliance at an affordable price.
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on 22 May 2001
I enjoyed this adaptation very much. The book has been a favourite of mine ever since discovering it quite by accident at the age of ten, and the thing I liked best about this adaptation is that it does not jar with my memories of the book at all. The feeling of enjoyment and pleasure was almost the same. Those changes which are made are minimal, and the casting excellent. I would recommend this film to anyone who has ever loved the book.
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on 3 August 2007
I had never seen any versions of 'The Secret Garden,' nor had I read the original book by Frances H. Burnett, but it did appeal to me, that's why when I ran into it at my local video store, I couldn't help myself from buying it, I payed $4.99 for it and I quickly realized what a bargain that was. This movie was worth every penny, absolutely gorgeous.

This is one of those films, aimed mainly at children, that the whole family can enjoy, both the young and old. The story centers around Mary Lennox, recently orphaned, sent to live with her uncle at an old manor, surrounded by a gloomy and foggy moor. At first, Mary doesn't seem to enjoy it, not because she misses her neglectful parents, but because she is lonely and longs for someone to play with. At the manor, she must live with the mean Mrs. Medlock, whom she dislikes, however, Mary soon makes friends with Martha, her younger brother Dickon and a young ill boy named Colin, who is Mary's cousin. Mary discovers many secrets, as why Colin is always kept in a lonely bed and why her uncle is so down and depressed, but the biggest secret she finds is the entrance to an old garden, which she and her new friend Dickon help bring to life.

This movie, as I have already stated, is beautifully filmed, with lots of beautiful landscapes and settings and the most breathtaking melodies ever, many following the tone of the closing song "Winter Light." The actors portray their characters wonderfully. The film doesn't particularly have much humor, most of the comic relief here is given by Martha, in a way she is a funny character, this is a good thing for the film not to have much humor, it adds to it's 'gloomy' beauty.

This movie inspired me to read the book, at first I had a bit of trouble understanding what was going on, both in the book and in the film, I especially had a bit of trouble understanding the Yorkshire accents of some of the characters, but after repeated viewings, I began to understand better. I would recommend this film to anyone, if you get a chance, get the soundtrack as well, as the music is one of the stronger points of the film.
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on 29 June 2005
"The Secret Garden" is a well-known and well adapted children's story taken from the original novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. In this version the well loved story gets the big screen treatment as it is splendidly tailored and produced into an excellent and very enjoyable film for the whole family.
There are two things that I think makes this film stand out. One is the wonderful performances of the child actors in it. None of them are the cute as button starlets we normally have presented to us, which normally sicken as much as entertain. But these are genuinely nice kids, which you can easily relate to, and therefore we're all the more hooked into their experiences and hang on their words and actions. The four young actors who stand out for special mention are Kate Maberly as Mary Lennox, the poor little rich orphan girl sent to live with her uncle, Heydon Prowse as the sickly Colin Craven, Mary's secret cousin, Laura Crossley as the kindly maid Martha who befriends Mary, and my personal favourite Andrew Knott as Dickon, Martha's brother and friend to all the animals.
The other reason is the simply superb performance by Maggie Smith. Always guaranteed to put in a good turn, she is simply miles above the other adult actors and really does give the film that extra little sparkle that really makes it stand out.
All in all, this is a fantastic piece of traditional children's storytelling, but what makes this really special, is the story for children will appeal to all ages, and in this time of crash, bang, wallop action, it's really great to get some decent "watch as a family" film treats.
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on 26 December 2000
Well I've seen most of them and I have to say that this is a wonderful remake of a simple but stunning story, I've owned this on video and now own it on DVD.
The film is set in the grounds of a beautiful and somewhat creepy large old house. When orphan Mary arrives at the house she discovers her cousin Colin through a secret passage in her room. And from there the adventure begins.
This is a must and a great family video...10 out of 10
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on 19 January 2006
I enjoyed this film from start to finish. The atmosphere of the whole movie is enchanting. With wonderful sets and costumes, and good acting from all the children, in particular from the actor playing Rickon.
Maggie Smith is the true gem of the whole piece, as the strict but ultimately caring housekeeper Metlock.
The secret garden itself is beautiful, as you see it through the seasons, and the gradual progress of Colin as he gets stronger and stronger. It's often funny when you see Mary telling off Colin and showing him what life really is. The sets are stunning throughout, with breathtaking moorland scenery a lovely dark foreboding rooms in the house.
As the movie reaches its end you'll find it very hard to stop a tear or two. Just a beautiful movie that all the family will enjoy!
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on 15 March 2000
In this adaptation of the classic children's book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, an orphan is sent to live with relatives on a large but dull and gloomy estate.
Left mostly to her own devises, she befriends the sickly son of the family and the rather wild brother of one of the servants and sets about restoring a neglected secret garden to its former beauty.
This uplifting story is well told and acted and will appeal to a broad family audience.
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on 24 November 2015
It's actually a very good movie. The plot itself is quite slow-paced but the movie is made such that there is never an instant of boredom. It is not entirely true to the book however. It showed Mary's parents dying in an earthquake whereas the book said her parents died of cholera. It also made the governess look more evil and mean than was portrayed in the book. I can understand why they did that, because if they tried to present those parts to young children watching, the children might either lose interest in for example the part leading to the Manor's owner's final return - the original book spends quite a while elaborating on how the children spend their time in the Manor before the Manor's owner returns home for the final time...if that was completely played out in the movie, it can get very mundane and kids may lose interest during that.

I can also see why the movie chose to show Mary's parents as having died from earthquake rather than cholera because cholera's main symptom is persistent watery diarrhoea - I doubt any movie would want to show how this actually looked like in real life because it is disgusting, so if they didn't show it like it really was, how are children going to know what cholera was and why it was so deadly??

So all in all, my kids had their eyes glued to the screen from beginning to end, which is more than they would do for many of the 3D animated films available today, so I consider this movie a feat of genius from Francis Ford Coppola! It really was very cleverly made and kept my kids mystified and wanting to watch more to see how the plot progressed. The scenes were also really beautiful.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 7 July 2010
This is an excellent adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel The Secret Garden (Wordsworth's Children's Classics) produced by Francis Ford Coppola, and directed by Agnieszka Holland. It tells the story of spoiled and grumpy little girl, Mary Lennox, who has to leave her home in India and move to England with her widower uncle, after her parents die. In England she finds comfort taking care of a 'secret' garden, once belonging to her mother's sister and deserted since her death. The garden comes back to life with the help of the village boy Dickon and her sickly and lonely cousin Colin, and as the garden blooms so do the children and the friendship formed between them.

A good novels greatest trait is that it allows the reader to imagine the places and the people described, and that is precisely what makes it difficult to adapt it as a film. The greatest thing about this film, for me, is that it was exactly as I pictured the book when I first read it. Holland has captured Burnett's atmosphere and vivid descriptions and the children are perfectly depicted by the very good young actors.

This is a lovely film for children and adults alike, and it can be beautifully paired with another excellent adaptation of a Frances Hodgson Burnett novel, A Little Princess [DVD] [1996].
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on 10 August 2008
I never got to the cinema much as a child and could count on one hand how many times I went, but I do remember out of all of them, The Secret Garden moved me the most. As an adult, I rarely watch TV or films and have a low boredom threshold, but I can watch this film over and over and cry every time. Mary Lennox is played superbly by Polly Maberly and the film is one of those rare gems that is truly as good as the book.
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