The Secret Garden (2020 film)


The Secret Garden is a 2020 British fantasy drama film based on the 1911 novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the fourth film adaptation of the novel. Directed by Marc Munden and produced by David Heyman, it stars Dixie Egerickx, Colin Firth, and Julie Walters. Set in 1947 England, the plot follows a young orphan who is sent to live with her uncle, only to discover a magical garden at his estate.

The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden 2020 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMarc Munden
Written byJack Thorne
Based onThe Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Produced by
CinematographyLol Crawley
Edited byLuke Dunkley
Music byDario Marianelli
Distributed bySky
Release dates
  • 7 August 2020 (2020-08-07) (United States)
  • 23 October 2020 (2020-10-23) (United Kingdom)
Running time
100 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget$20 million[1]
Box office$7.9 million[2]

The Secret Garden was released via premium video on demand in the United States on 7 August 2020 by STXfilms, and opened in theatres in the United Kingdom on 23 October 2020 by Sky, who also released the film on the Sky Cinema channels on the same day.


In 1947, Mary Lennox is found abandoned in her home in British India, her parents having died from cholera and her having been forgotten in the turmoil of Partition. Mary is sent to her uncle, Lord Archibald Craven's Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, England. She is an unpleasant, unkind young girl who has had to repress her own emotions whilst growing up in the Raj.

Upon arriving, she meets Mrs Medlock, a strict and firm lady who is Lord Craven's housekeeper and servant. Mary is instructed to not explore the house and is confined to her room at night. There, she meets Martha, a servant who is unsettled by her demands.

Mary is allowed to leave the house to explore the estate and woods nearby and stumbles upon a stray dog whom she names Jemima. Later that night, she hears tiny screams and wailings throughout the corridors only to find Lord Craven's bedridden son, Colin Craven.

The next day, Mary meets Lord Craven in his study and he tells her to not cause any trouble. Mary continues exploring through the forest and finds a hidden garden by climbing a wall. Later, on the way home, she calls out to Martha's brother Dickon who fades within the mist of the moors. Later she finds Jemima's leg caught in a trap. She helps Jemima, freeing her from the trap but the dog runs away into the garden. So, Mary continues to explore.

Mary is then guided by a Robin to a stone statue within the garden which has a key to the garden within it. She leaves the garden as Mrs Medlock calls out for her. Back at the estate, Mary meets with Colin again as he talks about having a hunchback and not being able to walk. She tells him about the garden on the estate but Colin is uninterested. Snooping around later, she finds a room with pictures of both Mary's mother and Grace Craven, and she grabs a souvenir, a pearl necklace.

The next day, Mary returns to the garden to find Dickon, who offers to help heal Jemima. Mary then brings Colin in his wheelchair for the first time to the same room with his mother's pictures and dresses. Both Mary and Dickon hatch a plan to bring Colin to the garden, hoping to heal his immobility, but upon returning, Mrs Medlock confronts Mary for stealing the pearl necklace and she is punished by being signed up for a boarding school. Later, confined and locked in her room, Mary finds letters between her mother and aunt in a rocking horse. She persuades Colin to read them and the three continue reading letters in the garden.

A depressed and distracted Lord Craven, while lighting a candle, sets the desk on fire. The next morning, Mary, Dickon and Colin are in the garden when they see black smoke coming from the house. Colin persuades Mary and Dickon to run to check it out. Mary enters the burning house to find Lord Craven frantically looking for his son in the fire. She tries in vain to convince him to escape as his son is safe outside, but he resists until the ghost of his wife guides them out safely as the fire brigade arrives. An anxious Lord Craven and Mrs Medlock go with Mary and Dickon to Colin in the secret garden. Lord Craven gazes in awe at his son's mobility as they rekindle their relationship.

The film ends with Lord Craven rebuilding the estate and Mary, Dickon and Colin having fun in the secret garden.



It was announced in June 2016 that Heyday Films and StudioCanal had teamed up to adapt the book into a new movie version, hiring Jack Thorne to write the screenplay.[3]

In January 2018, Marc Munden was set to direct.[4] Colin Firth and Julie Walters were cast in April 2018 as filming commenced at the end of that month.[5][6][7][8][9]

The main front facade of the estate house was filmed at Harlaxton manor in Lincolnshire. Some of the film was filmed in Yorkshire.[10][11] Filming has also taken place within Iford Manor Gardens, near Bath[12] and the National Trust site of Bodnant Garden, near Conwy, North Wales.[13] Filming locations also included: Woodhall Estate, Hertfordshire; Trebah Gardens, Cornwall, Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens, Dorset; Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean; Helmsley Walled Garden in North Yorkshire; and Pinewood Studios.[14]

This is the second time Colin Firth has acted in a film adaptation of The Secret Garden. The other version was released 33 years earlier, and was one of Firth's earliest films.

Release and home mediaEdit

The Secret Garden was originally set to be released by StudioCanal UK on 3 April 2020, but two weeks before the release the date was pushed back to 14 August 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.[15][16] In August 2020, Sky purchased the British distribution rights to the film, and released it in the United Kingdom theatrically and on the Sky Cinema channels on 23 October 2020.[17] STX Entertainment handled the American release, distributing it via Premium VOD on 7 August 2020.[18] Global Road Entertainment had initially acquired the North American distribution rights in May 2018,[19] but sold them to STXfilms in March 2019.[20][21] The Secret Garden was then released on DVD and Blu-Ray by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on 6 October 2020.


Box office and VODEdit

The film made $139,000 in its opening weekend in Spain, finishing in second.[22]

In its debut weekend in the U.S., the film was the top-rented on Amazon Prime and fifth on FandangoNow.[23] In its second weekend the film fell to seventh on Fandango's charts.[24]

Critical responseEdit

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 68% of 96 reviews of the film were positive, with an average rating of 6.1/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Faithful in spirit while putting its own spin on the source material, The Secret Garden adds a charming entry to the long list of this beloved book's adaptations."[25] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 59 out of 100, based on 20 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[26]


  1. ^ "Reimagining 'The Secret Garden' for a New Generation". New York Times. 8 August 2020. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  2. ^ "The Secret Garden (2020)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  3. ^ David Heyman And Studio Canal Reteam For Classic Tale ‘The Secret Garden’, Tap Jack Thorne To Adapt
  4. ^ Marc Munden To Helm ‘The Secret Garden’ For David Heyman & Studiocanal
  5. ^ Tang, Estelle (14 May 2018). "There's Going to Be a 'The Secret Garden' Movie and Colin Firth Is in It". Elle. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  6. ^ Colin Firth, Julie Walters Discover ‘The Secret Garden’ For Studiocanal, Heyday Films
  7. ^ Global Road Digs ‘The Secret Garden’ In North American Distribution Deal – Cannes
  8. ^ Allen, Ben (27 April 2018). "Colin Firth and Julie Walters to star in classic children's adaptation The Secret Garden". Radio Times. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  9. ^ Ritman, Alex (27 April 2018). "Colin Firth, Julie Walters Join 'The Secret Garden'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  10. ^ Newton, Grace (4 March 2019). "The Secret Garden: The Yorkshire locations that appear in new Colin Firth and Julie Walters film". Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  11. ^ Southern, Keiran (27 April 2018). "Colin Firth and Dame Julie Walters to star in The Secret Garden". The Independent (Press Association). Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  12. ^ "IFORD MANOR". Ilford Manor. 6 August 2020. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  13. ^ Jones, Mari (28 June 2018). "Major Hollywood film is being shot in this North Wales garden". North Wales Live. Retrieved 25 August 2019.
  14. ^ "The Secret Garden". Pinewood Studios. Retrieved 5 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Coronavirus: Studiocanal UK Shuts London Office, Moves 'The Secret Garden' From April To August". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  16. ^ "How coronavirus is hitting entertainment events". BBC News. 13 March 2020. Archived from the original on 13 March 2020.
  17. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (4 August 2020). "'The Secret Garden' Moves From Studiocanal To Sky In The UK, Sets October Launch". Deadline. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  18. ^ Parlevliet, Mirko (18 June 2020). "The Secret Garden Movie Coming to PVOD on August 7". Vital Thrills. Retrieved 4 August 2020.
  19. ^ Roxborough, Scott (12 May 2018). "Cannes: Global Road Buys 'The Secret Garden' for North America". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  20. ^ STXfilms To Uncover ‘The Secret Garden’ Starring Colin Firth & Julie Walters
  21. ^ Galuppo, Mia (25 March 2019). "STX Nabs Colin Firth-Starring 'The Secret Garden' for North America". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  22. ^ Nancy Tartaglione (19 August 2020). "'The Eight Hundred' Coming On Strong In China Previews, Tops $20M – International Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 August 2020.
  23. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (10 August 2020). "Shia LaBeouf's 'The Tax Collector' Scores on VOD and in Theaters; 'The Secret Garden' Strong". IndieWire. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
  24. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (17 August 2020). "Canadian Box Office Reopens as 'Unhinged' and 'SpongeBob Movie' Take the Lead". IndieWire. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  25. ^ "The Secret Garden (2020)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 10 October 2021.
  26. ^ "The Secret Garden (2020) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 9 November 2020.

External linksEdit

  • The Secret Garden at IMDb