A Wrinkle in Time

This movie came out when I was in Austin, Texas seeing a billion movies at SXSW, and even so, I still considered taking a time out just to see another movie, one that was just hitting theatres. I never made it to A Wrinkle In Time then, but I finally got around to it this weekend, and I wasn’t the only one: our cinema was packed on Easter Monday, and I was pleased to note how many families were in attendance.

For those of you who haven’t read the book (by Madeleine L’Engle), A Wrinkle In Time is about a young girl named Meg – troubled at school, grieving at home. Her parents are both brilliant scientists, or were – her father disappeared years ago while MV5BNzhkYzRlNzUtNzFhNy00MzllLWFkZGEtNDg0ZTE0YTYzOWNjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjk3NTUyOTc@._V1_working on a theory about a tesseract, which would involve “wrinkling” time and space in order to travel through it. One dark and stormy night, a mysterious woman named Mrs. Whatsit appears to tell Meg, her friend Calvin, and Meg’s little brother Charles Wallace, the child genius, that she has heard her father calling out to them through the universe. Turns out, Mrs. Whatsit and her friends Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which are supernatural beings prepared to engage in a rescue mission.

The book was repeatedly rejected – possibly because it was a work of science fiction with a young, female protagonist, and possibly because it asked a lot from its young readers. Not only does it use physics and philosophy as basic concepts, it directly tackles the nature of evil, and pits children against it. The movie, too, follows in its footsteps, embracing what made the novel so special and unique, proudly displaying the magic AND the science, and trusting a young audience to appreciate them both. If anything the movie is a little too ambitious – though I quite enjoyed it, I did, in the end, have the sense that parts of it were quite condensed.

Director Ava du Vernay gets the casting exactly right: Storm Reid as Meg is what we want every 13 year old girl to be – smart and strong and curious and cautious. Her determination in the face of her fear and vulnerability make her an exceedingly compelling character. She may at times be insecure but her love and loyalty toward family see her through difficult times. But of course it’s the larger than life characters that Meg meets that give the story so much colour. The Mrs. Ws are particularly enchanting, and I cannot imagine a more satisfying trio than Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah, large and in charge.

At just under 2 hours, the movie does unfortunately lose some of the detail that MV5BMTU5Njg0NTA0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTgwNDU4NDM@._V1_SX1777_CR0,0,1777,929_AL_make the book wonderful, but it also paints a fantastic picture that I cannot stop myself from going back to in my mind. The visuals are exotic and beautiful and the world-building just divine. I can only guess at the kind of impression it makes on young imaginations.

Though the movie has some flaws, its themes are just as courageous and necessary today as they were when the book was first published in 1962. Light vs darkness, good triumphing over evil, and the only real weapon used is love. It’s also got a (somewhat diluted) message against conformity; Meg has to embrace her flaws in order to win the day.

See this movie with a child’s wonder and you will be delighted. Adapting this book was always going to be difficult, and the worst thing it does, necessarily, is rob us of the opportunity to do some of the imagining for ourselves. But in committing to the visuals, Ava du Vernay does the source material more than justice. She gives us a film full of hope and bravery, and shows little girls everywhere that they too can be the heroes of their own stories.

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17 thoughts on “A Wrinkle in Time

    1. Jay Post author

      Oh god, I loved those books, against all odds.
      It’s so hard to do some of these books justice because their scope is so huge, and powered by imagination, it’s impossible to meet the expectations we set in our minds as children.

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  1. Carrie Rubin

    I haven’t seen this, but I’d like to. I saw a preview of it at in Disneyland on a recent trip to California, and the visuals were gorgeous. But I think I’ll be going alone. Film son isn’t interested.

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  2. In My Cluttered Attic

    I had read somewhere that she wrote the book hoping that Mr Disney would make it into a movie, but that he had died before the book was able to meet his eyes. All the same, I’m glad to see the Disney Studio eventually got around to making the book into a film.

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  3. Christy B

    I didn’t realize the book had been repeatedly rejected – just another reminder to not give up as an author who is looking to publish a book! It’s nice now that we also have the self-publishing route 🙂

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  4. sophiarileykobacker

    Thank you! After reading doubtful mainstream reviews, I was delighted to see how well this film realized its story. Maybe some issues with pace, but the visuals excelled. The youthful audience loved it too. This film is well worth seeing.

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  5. Christopher

    One of my regrets is that I didn’t read the book when I was young. I finally got around to it three years ago, about the time a local children’s theater put on a production that was clever and ambitious. And it annoyed me that well-meaning adults kept L’Engle’s books out of my reach because they were “too difficult”. I not only would have enjoyed them when I was nine or ten but they would have been great introductions to things I’d come to enjoy later.
    So I’m looking forward to seeing the film with a child’s sense of wonder but also glad that it’ll serve as a gateway for children right now.

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  6. calensariel

    “Adapting this book was always going to be difficult, and the worst thing it does, necessarily, is rob us of the opportunity to do some of the imagining for ourselves.” ABSOLUTELY agree, which is why I’ve never been impressed with any of the movie versions of it. It was the first sci-fi fantasy book I’d read and launched me on a love affair with sci/fi. It made me have to think. People underestimate how intelligent and imaginative kids are at younger ages. Just look how Harry Porter exploded with the younger set and the commitment they made to see the books through to the end. That took YEARS! (Sorry. Got carried away! LOL)

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  7. Pingback: ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES2018’s Top 10 Badass Female Characters

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