The Colorful Trailer for 'The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar' Is a Whimsical Delight

Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar"

Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar"


whimsNetflix has released the trailer for its upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and it pretty much looks exactly like what you'd expect from a film that combines Britain's most imaginative children's author with Oscar nominee Wes Anderson (Asteroid City), a director who is known for his pastel-infused, dreamlike storytelling style.

Based on Dahl's 1977 collection of short stories called The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, the film follows the story of the titular Henry Sugar, who steals a book from a famous guru in the hope of teaching himself to see through playing cards and get rich gambling. Because this is a Dahl story, it's also a meditation on greed, generosity, and the ways we can all collectively care for one another, with a climax that also manages to involve opening a whole lot of orphanages. (It works, really.) 

If the trailer is anything to go by, Anderson appears to as fully leaned into this reputation for quirky weirdness, crafting a final product that is comprised of four parts, but that runs for just 37 minutes. The movie's odd, dreamlike feel is apparent throughout the series trailer, which features star Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) doing some fourth wall-breaking narration, amidst a set that is candy-floss colorful

The film's synopsis is predictably brief.

A rich man learns about a guru who can see without using his eyes.

He sets out to master the skill in order to cheat at gambling.

Extremely faithfully adapted from Roald Dahl’s long short story.

The ensemble cast is predictably stacked with A-listers and Anderson favorites. Alongside Cumberbatch, it also features Ralph Fiennes (The Menu), Dev Patel (The Green Knight), Ben Kingsley (Jules), Rupert Friend (Anatomy of a Scandal), Asa Jennings (Sing 2), and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd).

The film premiered at this year's Venice Film Festival to glowing reviews from critics who described the film as a great opening to Netflix's ambitious of interconnected Dahl-related and -adjacent properties that will reportedly range from live-action TV programs and feature films to animated series and video games. (Matilda the Musical was technically labeled part of this effort, the studio acquired it prior to its 2021 purchase of the Roald Dahl Story Company and the included rights to all of the author's works.) 

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar arrives in theaters on Wednesday, September 20, and streams on Netflix a week later on September 27, 2023

Lacy Baugher

Lacy's love of British TV is embarrassingly extensive, but primarily centers around evangelizing all things Doctor Who, and watching as many period dramas as possible.

Digital media type by day, she also has a fairly useless degree in British medieval literature, and dearly loves to talk about dream poetry, liminality, and the medieval religious vision. (Sadly, that opportunity presents itself very infrequently.) York apologist, Ninth Doctor enthusiast, and unabashed Ravenclaw. Say hi on Threads or Blue Sky at @LacyMB. 

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