By Former Writer – Brandy Burgess
Based on the novel by Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time challenges existing paradigms regarding what it means to be different or the same. It leaves behind some the denser material that defined the philosophy of the book, but keeps the intended spirit of the book. Fans of the novel may be skeptical at first, but will find the heart of L’Engle’s work remains intact.
The film examines the misperceptions people often have of each other and themselves. Many of the characters encounter this in their own way: Meg Murry (Storm Reid), devastated by the loss of her father, tries to cope with not meeting the expectations of others as well as her own expectations. Her brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) has a brilliant mind- “Brilliant! But odd,” as he is described by his teachers. He copes with not receiving acceptance from his peers by looking out for Meg. Calvin (Levi Miller) appears the same as everyone else, even as he tries to get Meg to understand the details of his life are not as they seem. Dr. Murry (Chris Pine), prior to his disappearance, seeks to move beyond eccentricity to greatness, but at what cost?
Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) bring the vibrant imagery teased in the film’s trailer. Astonishing transformations become the key to proving that Meg and her companions have the power to change the ways they view themselves and their lives. While differing from the novel, the Mrs.’ have become accessible to modern audiences- especially children- although the lessons remain the same. Color determines not only the style of each Mrs., but also characterizes the intergalactic terrains wherein the children find themselves as they travel the universe.
A Wrinkle in Time also serves as director Ava Duvernay’s love letter to young black girls. This is a film in which the black girl does not serve as the sidekick for the white boy, in fact it is the opposite. She is allowed to feel a wide range of emotions, such as fear, sadness, joy, anger, and more. Black girls and women are portrayed as intelligent, beautiful, and most importantly: worthy of being loved. It is a black girl who fights to bring the light to the rest of the world, in spite of the way she has been treated and the way she feels about herself.
Adults will also find they relate to the characters well. Several scenes depict the inner lives of the adults , addressing themes such as marriage, jealousy, grief, career success and disappointment. A healthy amount of skepticism is present in the film, particularly in the arrivals of Mrs. Whatsit, Who and Which. However, this skepticism does not define the film. Cynical adults are revealed to be such, and are condemned for their harmful behavior toward the children.
The visual effects of Wrinkle are incredible, with soft transitions between scenes. Some viewers may find themselves in want of more scenes to bridge small gaps in the plot (there are lots of flashbacks woven in). However, the film does not aim to retell an old story, perfectly. It holds a mirror to our very selves and asks us: what we see, what we wish to change and what we choose to accept. Our differences can become our strengths. A Wrinkle in Time reveals that the worst of what we thought of ourselves may be our strengths, and we are capable of even better than the best things we thought possible.