Mary Lenox is the spoiled, neglected child of a wealthy English couple living in India during the early 20th century. Her mother and father never wanted her, and only care about themselves. One night during one of their frequent parties, an earthquake occurs and both of Mary’s parents are killed in the destruction.
The next day, when Mary is out in the fresh air and the local gardens, she discovers another hidden garden behind some overgrown ivy. One of the gardeners, Ben Weatherstaff, tells her that there is no entrance because it was meant to be shut it off by Lord Craven after the death of his wife. Mary, driven to find out more about the garden, remembers a key she found in her late aunt’s bedroom, and discovers it fits the lock to the hidden door. One night after dreaming about her mother for the first time since coming to England, she hears the crying from the distant room she heard before. Determined to find out where the crying is coming from, she discovers the room that belongs to her sickly cousin, Colin Craven, who is the master of the house during Lord Craven's absence. Colin, who has lived in bed, is unable to walk and has a morbid obsession with death, believing he will become a hunchback like his father.
Colin and Mary get to know each other very well. His windows are boarded up because of his belief that the light and "spores" outside can harm him. When Mary decides to pull them down with the help of Martha’s brother, Dickon Sowerby (whom she met earlier when she discovered the door to the secret garden), Colin falls out of his wheelchair onto the floor, launching a terrible tantrum. It is revealed that Medlock keeps Colin concealed from Mary as she is convinced Mary is capable of killing Colin if she goes anywhere near him. Soon, Mary persuades Colin that the fresh air is safe, and she and Dickon take him outside in his wheelchair to see the secret garden that they have been trying to restore. Mary and Dickon ultimately teach Colin to stand up and walk, but they decide that Lord Craven should be the first to see Colin walking, so they conceal the secret from Medlock and the others.
After Medlock states that Colin is gravely ill, she forces Mary and Colin to be separated, locking Mary in her bedroom. Mary however escapes from her room through the second door behind a tapestry. Then she takes Colin and Dickon to the garden to perform magic at night, barefoot. The magic causes Lord Craven to have a dream about his late wife in the secret garden with Colin. Alarmed and terrified, he rushes back to Misselthwaite Manor to find him. Lord Craven goes into the secret garden to find Colin walking quite well now. With Mary (certain that no one wants her anymore) running away, Lord Craven persuades her that she is truly a wanted person. Soon, Mary has learned to cry for the first time, and Lord Craven has regained his sense of humour and laughter. Upon their return to the Manor, Medlock and the other servants are amazed to see Colin walking back independently with Mary and Lord Craven.
The film ends with Dickon riding over the Yorkshire countryside on his horse, as the world zooms out around him. Mary speaks of her uncle's learning to laugh, and her learning to cry... and that the whole world is a garden.
This is a lovely film to watch any time during the year, but most especially during winter with a duvet and a nice warm drink. :) xx