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Why “The Secret Garden” Is One Of The Most Depressing Kids’ Movies

This is really a movie about how Mary Lennox will eventually marry her cousin.

The Secret Garden was a 1993 adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s book. Back in the ’90s, it was a magical hour and a half of English countryside, mysterious invalids, and romantic orphans. It’s still all that stuff except you now see it for what it is: completely depressing. How much of this do you remember fantasizing about…and how much do you find it weird now? Let’s find out.

3. The Secret Garden opens with Mary Lennox, a spoiled child living in India. Her parents are truly awful people who don’t care about her. She’s so emotionally damaged, she can’t even cry.

4. Mary’s parents are killed in an earthquake, and she’s sent back to England to live with her uncle, Lord Craven. His housekeeper, Professor McGonagall, picks up Mary and says this thing, which will probably scar Mary for life.

5. On the way to Misselthwaite Manor, the Dowager Countess eats delicious chicken and does not offer any to Mary. So far, this is a cruel, cruel world.

6. And a few hours later, she eats AGAIN and doesn’t give Mary any food. (Is this supposed to be a chicken/egg metaphor?)

7. So now Mary is pretty much alone in the world and has to live at a less fun version of Downton Abbey because there’s no drinking and no fancy dress dinners.

8. The manor is in fact a total dump, but in exploring her dead aunt’s stuff, she finds this key. WHAT COULD IT OPEN??

9. When roaming the grounds, Mary comes across a locked garden and finds out its deal from a man with a funny hat. So, basically, Lord Craven closed the garden 10 years ago, after his wife died. It was her garden.

10. This is Mary’s only friend, Dickon. Who is not well in the head.

11. There’s also little to love about Mary who straight up has bitchy resting face.

12. Ugh, and now things get even MORE depressing. Mary’s aunt died from falling off the swing in the secret garden. WHO DOES THAT?

13. Dickon and Mary begin rehabilitating the garden. Romance brews between them! Plant that bulb. You plant that bulb goood.

14. Eventually, Mary figures out the creepy cries she hears in the manor belong to her sickly cousin, Colin. Here, you see Colin nervously prepare himself for his first interaction with a girl. It’s your cousin, dude.

 

15. This kid is gonna die, too. He’s never been outside because the “spores.” Christ, this is morbid.

16. When Mary finally meets her sad and creepy uncle, he’s overcome with emotion because Mary apparently looks just like his late wife. It’s always kind of weird when people see their romantic partners in the eyes of children.

17. Things take a turn when Colin takes charge of the house (because his father is never around).

18. And you’re like YEAAAHHH BOIIII.

19. And kid is walking now! Things are totally happy! You feel relief. Until…

20. Oh god. Maybe this is just a really bad episode of Downton Abbey.

21. Because Colin desperately wants his father to come home, he, Mary, and Dickon do voodoo magic to summon him.

22. And it works!

23. Except now Mary is very upset because Colin has a smokin’ dad and she has no one. Dickon tries to comfort her, which you know is only gonna cause more issues down the line. This girl will forever be trapped in the most awkward love triangle.

24. Mary is totally distraught. But she shouldn’t be…

25. Because she fixed everything!

26. So yay…and remember how at the beginning, Mary said she never ever cried? NOW SHE CRIES. It’s a miracle.

So to re-cap, here’s what happened:
1. An orphan learned how to garden.
2. Her cousin fell in love with her.
3. She became capable of feeling sadness.

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