While the novel had many issues, the movie version of A Wrinkle in Time is a true spark of light for today’s youth and young at heart.
The novel of A Wrinkle in Time was a “classic” with many having read this in school, which also means there was a guide helping younger audiences figure out the meanings and themes behind the novel. Having only read the novel recently without the aid of youth and a guide, I was left underwhelmed by the book. There was a lot there, don’t get me wrong, with some pretty deep themes for a “children’s book”, and L’Engle’s world building is impressive. The novel fell short in the character development area; this, however, is where the movie truly shines. Let’s do a little deep dive- be aware, SPOILERS ahead!
The novel, written by a female featuring a female lead in a sci-fi/fantasy world, has now been adapted, in part, by a female for the screenplay (Jennifer Lee: Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph, Zootopia), directed by a female director (Ava DuVernay: Selma, Middle of Nowhere, 13th), and again featuring a female lead (Storm Reid: 12 Years a Slave, Sleight). Not only does the movie continue the tradition of some strong females in main roles, but the movie takes it a step further by putting women of color in some of the main roles. So, again, A Wrinkle in Time is doing something more than simply telling a sci-fi story, and I am all here for it- even more than the book.
Firstly, the movie needs to be recognized for its beauty, from visual effects, to makeup and costumes, to cinematography. The colors pop off the screen and the worlds we encounter are truly something more than even L’Engle herself could have imagined. Even the music complimented the visuals and brought the emotions to a new height.
Our main character, Meg (Reid), is a young girl who has many faults. Yet, the crux of the movie is that these faults are not necessarily things to hide from or be ashamed of. The movie celebrates Meg’s faults and flips them around to show that what she perceives as faults are not actually negative. Meg’s character really hit a nerve in me, even while reading the book, because, like her, I also didn’t always understand my worth and didn’t fit in with the popular girls. The movie also shows that even the mean popular girls are struggling with similar issues of confidence issues and fitting into how society thinks girls should look/act. No one is truly spared negativity, showing that “darkness” finds its way into all our lives and it’s up to each of us to find the light inside to fight.
In an age where women are once again standing up for equal status and fighting against misogyny, the idea that a strong, smart girl should be proud of her “faults” is right in the vein of current events. The movie addresses self-doubt, lack of confidence, and the power of self-love- all things that a young female truly needs to hear, but something that is easily relatable for all genders at all age levels. Even going beyond the idea of the battle between light and dark, the movie focuses on a greater issue, a lack of self-love. In fact, the events of the movie depend on Meg finding that love for herself, from allowing her to tesser “marvelously” to defeating IT- everything succeeding depends on Meg embracing who she is and not being ashamed of it. Some may argue that Meg finds this love for herself quickly (whereas it does, in fact, take years to learn to love yourself) but the overall theme of positivity is something we need people to start embracing, particularly with the multiple areas negativity surrounds us in our everyday lives, from school/work, social media, and even at home.
If the theme was muddled in the novel due to a lack of character development or imbalanced story telling, or if the story was a bit heady for younger readers, the movie shines a light on what is the most important takeaway- love yourself and those around you and you can fight even the greatest darkness- with a clarity of one looking through Mrs. Who’s glasses. I highly recommend this movie, not only to parents and young children, but to all who have ever experienced that self-doubt or criticism that causes your self-love to wither. Celebrate the light, and support all the women who brought you this gem, from L’Engle to DuVernay.