Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical ending explained – who are the Escapologist and the Acrobat?

December 28, 2022
Lori C. 0
Ending Explained, Film, Netflix, Streaming Service
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We discuss the ending of the Netflix film Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, which will contain spoilers.

The film adaptation of the Olivier award-winning Matilda the Musical tells the charming story of a precocious young girl who uses her special abilities to right wrongs and help those in need.

With Alisha Weir in the title role, the film follows Matilda, a young girl who’s being mistreated by her parents (Stephen Graham & Andrea Riseborough) and spends most of her time delving into books she borrows from the caravan library run by Mrs. Phelps (Sindhu Vee). At school, she gets attached to the one teacher who notices her brilliance, Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch), while trying to avoid ending on the wrong end of cruel and unusual punishments dished out by the horrid headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull (Emma Thompson). 

Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical ending explained – who are the Escapologist and the Acrobat?

By the time the final act starts, the tragic story of the Escapologist (Carl Spencer) and the Acrobat (Lauren Alexandra) that Matilda’s been telling Mrs. Phelps takes a rather dark turn after the Acrobat discovers how badly his young daughter was treated by her aunt. Back at the school, Miss Honey invites Matilda to her cabin where the young girl realizes her made-up story was not made up at all. The Escapologist and the Acrobat were Miss Honey’s real parents and Ms. Trunchbull was the evil step-aunt who, after her father’s suspicious death, tricked the now-beloved teacher out of her inheritance. A determined Matilda decides to take matters into her own hands and takes a stand against the evil headmistresses by using her telekinesis powers to destroy “The Chokey” – a torture device she used as a punishment on the students for far too long. 

When she arrives home that night, Matilda is surprised to see her parents frantically packing up their bags and getting ready to flee to Spain. As it turns out, the men her father had sold faulty cars to were actually in The Mafia, putting the entire family in mortal danger. 

The next day, Matilda and her class are met by an enraged Trunchbull who spent the whole night building enough “chokeys” for every student in Miss Honey’s class. Before she’s able to unleash her punishment on everyone, Matilda uses her powers to write a message on the whiteboard and make scary chains come to life to convince the headmistress that the Escapologist’s ghost wants her to return the house she stole from Miss Honey and leave the school for good. A terrified Ms. Trunchbull runs away in terror, leaving everything, including the school to her abused niece. 

As all the children are celebrating their newfound freedom, Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood arrives at the gate to whisk their daughter off to Spain. As Matilda’s about to go with her parents, Miss Honey offers to adopt her instead. Mrs. Wormwood doesn’t seem particularly bothered, but Mr. Wormwood appears to show the slightest sliver of regret at saying goodbye to Matilda, even referring to her as his “daughter” for the first time. In a rare moment of father-daughter tenderness, Matilda shakes Mr. Wormwood’s hand and uses her powers to unglue the hat that was stuck to his head for most of the film. 

After saying goodbye to her parents, Matilda and Miss Honey start a happy life together. As she’s now headmistress, Miss Honey renames the school The Big Friendly School (a nice little nod to another of Dahl’s classics, The BFG) and installs an amusement park in the previously grim-looking garden. 

What did you think of the ending of the Netflix film Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical? Comment below.

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