Young genius Matilda Wormwood is neglected and mistreated by her car dealer father Harry and mother Zinnia, as well as her older brother, Michael. She is smart and independent, and finds solace in the fictional worlds of books at the public library. When Matilda’s parents refuse to enroll her into school, she puts bleach in her father’s hair tonic and glues his hat to his head. Harry catches Matilda reading Moby-Dick, rips it up, and forces her to watch reality television. Matilda becomes increasingly enraged until the television explodes.
Harry sells a car to Miss Agatha Trunchbull, the tyrannical principal of Crunchem Hall Elementary School, in exchange for admitting Matilda as a student. Matilda’s teacher, Miss Jennifer Honey, notices the ease with which Matilda answers middle school multiplication questions and requests Matilda be moved to a higher class, but Trunchbull refuses. The Wormwoods are not interested either. Trunchbull has the whole school watch her forcing pupil Bruce Bogtrotter to eat an entire enormous chocolate cake. Matilda leads the students in cheering Bruce to success, and Trunchbull gives them all 5 hours detention. Matilda discovers her father is under surveillance by the FBI over his illegal dealings. Her parents refuse to believe her as Zinnia flirts with the two agents whom she believes to be speedboat salesmen.
Matilda’s friend Lavender puts a newt in Trunchbull’s water jug. Trunchbull accuses Matilda, who, in anger at the injustice, telekinetically tips the glass over, splashing the newt onto Trunchbull. Matilda is unable to reproduce her powers to Honey during a test. Honey invites Matilda to tea and reveals a secret; her mother died when she was two, and her father Magnus invited his wife’s stepsister, Trunchbull, to live with them and look after her, but Trunchbull abused her. When Honey was five, Magnus apparently died by suicide and left everything to Trunchbull, who Honey suspects killed him. Matilda and Honey sneak into Trunchbull’s house to retrieve some of Honey’s belongings, including a Lissy Doll. They narrowly escape when Trunchbull unexpectedly returns.
Matilda trains her telekinetic powers by making objects fly around the house and thwarting the FBI agents in order to buy Harry time to come to his senses. Having practiced her ability, she returns to Trunchbull’s house and attempts to scare her away with telekinesis, but Trunchbull discovers Matilda’s presence upon finding her hair ribbon. The next day, Matilda reveals her powers to Honey but Trunchbull visits the class to make Matilda confess. Matilda magically writes a message on the blackboard, posing as the vengeful soul of Magnus, who accuses Trunchbull of murdering him. Trunchbull attacks the students, but Matilda rescues them and she and the other students permanently force her out of the school, and Honey moves back into her true home.
Sometime later, the Wormwoods show up at Honey’s house to take Matilda and retreat to Guam as a permanent vacation to avoid being arrested after the FBI collects enough evidence to prosecute Harry. Matilda refuses to go with them and says she would rather be adopted by Honey. Zinnia and Harry both sign Matilda’s adoption papers, with Zinnia feeling remorseful for never understanding her daughter. Matilda lives happily with Honey, who is named the new principal of Crunchem Hall and also creates another building for the students.
A classic film full of wonder, love, and laughter of a sweet and bright girl. A Great movie for the whole family.