Matilda is about a precocious young girl called Matilda Wormwood. At a young age she is already able to do complicated math problems and read. While she is very intellectually curious, she is neglected by her family who show her no interest. As revenge, she plays tricks on her absent parents.
When she attends school, Matilda's intellect is discovered by her teacher Miss Honey who attempts to inform the school headmistress Miss Trunchbull and Matilda's parents. Her attempts are met with deaf ears.
Following a prank her best friend pulls on the Trunchbull, Matilda discovers that she has telekinetic powers.
Miss Honey reveals that she was raised by an abusive aunt (later revealed to be Miss Trunchbull). Besides denying Miss Honey her inheritance and her house, it is strongly implied that Miss Trunchbull is responsible for her father's death.
Matilda goes home and perfects her skill. During a lesson with the Trunchbull she lifts a piece of chalk with her powers and, posing as Miss Honey's father, writes a message to the Trunchbull demanding that she restore Miss Honey of her house and her inheritance. Miss Trunchbull faints.
The Trunchbull leaves the school and is replaced with a kind woman that helps foster Matilda's gifts by placing her in more challenging class. Because of the extra stimulation, Matilda's powers vanish.
Matilda continues to visit Miss Honey an the two grow even closer. One day, upon arriving back to her home, Matilda sees her family hastily packing their belongings, forced to flee from the police because of her father's dishonest business dealings. Matilda asks her parents to let her stay with Miss Honey and both of them live happily.