Joe Wiesenfeld

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Back To The Secret Garden Review


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Moviegoers who fondly remember Agnieszka Holland's lovingly crafted 1993 version of the classic children's story The Secret Garden will be disappointed to learn that Back to the Secret Garden is not the sequel. Rather, it's the sequel to a 1987 version of the same story, only this one was produced as a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" TV movie. (To add to the confusion, this story apparently has nothing to do with the much-maligned book sequel, Return to the Secret Garden, nor is it the same film as another 2000 movie called Return to the Secret Garden.) But putting all the confusion aside, it's a safe bet that you won't want to see or read any of the sequels.

I never saw Hallmark's version, but I doubt it could hold a candle to Holland's. If this sequel is any guide, it was nothing to crow about. Back to the Secret Garden may hold minor interest for Anglophiles and/or children so young they can't comprehend plots, but the magic in the original garden is strikingly lacking in this rehash.

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