I had planned on re-reading A Wrinkle In Time before seeing the new movie, but I couldn’t find my copy. I must have left it at my parents’ house. So I went into the theater last night with only vague recollections of the story that I’d loved so much as a kid, and honestly, that was probably the best way to see the new movie.
I have a tendency to be a book purist, and even small changes can make me upset, but not remembering exactly what happened allowed me to experience A Wrinkle In Time as its own entity, and I actually enjoyed it. The script is kind of lackluster, and the acting left something to be desired, but I’m starting to wonder if maybe that was the point. Everything was straight forward and dramatic, trying to explain this wildly out there theoretical concept in a way that most people can understand. The kids’ genuineness made up for their weaker acting, particularly from Levi Miller (Calvin). He just seemed like such a good person, a good peacemaker, like Calvin is supposed to be.
Storm Reid did a good job as Meg. I know people side-eyed the casting, but I’m glad that director Ava DuVernay fought for Reid. I’m white, so I can’t ever really understand the importance of this casting, but I can appreciate what it means for little black girls to see themselves on screen, especially in a movie like this. Meg is brilliant and interested in science and loyal and loving and flawed. She starts the movie as an outcast, suspicious of everyone, not understanding why someone like Calvin would ever want to talk to her if not for a joke. During the course of the film, she learns to accept herself for who she is, because who she is is pretty great.
The story is simple, but it was simple in the book as well. The space-travel concept was the most difficult part, and I’m slightly annoyed that the scene of Meg using the string to explain the theory was not in the movie. At times I thought it was a little too simple – a great big evil in the universe is what makes people on Earth mean and bad – but I had to remind myself that this movie is intended for children and not for me. Simple doesn’t mean bad, and it was a nice touch to show things like Meg’s bully having body image issues. (Although I still think Calvin’s dad is just a jerk.) It implies that with a little understanding, you can resolve issues. It doesn’t always work that way, of course, but tolerance and forgiveness are never bad things to teach.
The best part of the movie, for me, was the cinematography. This is just such a gorgeous film, full of light and color. The special effects are fantastic. Tessering looks amazing; I wish I had the ability to do that. The different planets really felt other-worldly, particularly Uriel and the Happy Medium’s unnamed planet. Camazotz was sufficiently creepy, and Meg and Calvin’s escape from whatever entity was attacking them was extremely well done.
A Wrinkle In Time is a modern-day fairy tale – bright and beautiful with a powerful message. It’s about having hope when there is none and love being the most important force. Love literally saves the universe. And so does a black girl.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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