The Secret Garden...for me, the very words breathe magic. I was around five when I first saw it. I saw it and The Little Princess around the same time--they both hold memories for me. They're a symbol of my entrancement with childhood magic, memories, and friendship told in period pieces. My fascination with other times just might have been born when seeing these movies--I'm not sure. I just know that my love started very early.
As a child, on watching this movie my imagination was filled with the hidden passages, sleeping corridors echoing with unspoken memories, things left where they had been put down years before. Garden paths that led to natural wonders that were all the more wondrous because of their natural, beautiful being. And incredible, exotic rebirth. I definitely know that my fascination with India is greatly due to these movies. It was filled with the purity and rawness of childhood friendship, in life at it peak of bloom.
The film itself is strongly presented in imagery. The very potent, tangible atmosphere is surrounded by the Garden, by Life. Birds, lambs, flowers, sprouts, the rustle of the wind through green leaves and delicate stems. The life of Mary and the inhabitants of Misselthwaite is told in the currents of the seasons, although not so obviously. It all is melded into a beautiful, innocent whole, showing the wrongs and blessings, the changes, the growth, the wounds and healing. The rawness of our own human nature, in the wildness of the natural world we live in, even if at times we forget it. Gardens have a way of reminding us.
Through cold tragedies, our drawing into ourselves, to the warmth of thawing hope in friendship and the belief that perhaps the world has some beauty after all, the characters and places of The Secret Garden have always impressed upon me the singular, beautiful quality of beauty and hope.
When I learned that it had been written by Caroline Thompson, I was not surprised--she has a touch for the sweet innocence of nostalgia, for purity in friendships. Can't say I've ever watched anything else directed by Agnieszka Holland, but I think this is a sign that I should. Just to see. And heaven knows that Coppola is famous for his hit films.
Looking forward to exploring this movie more, as I study the characters and work behind the film.
Directed by Agnieszka Holland
Theatrical Release: 1993
Produced by Francis Ford Coppola
Screenplay by Caroline Thompson