A Wrinkle in Time Trailer

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time.)

I’m going to start this A Wrinkle in Time spoiler review a little differently than normal. I think we, as a critic and audience, should be honest with each other for a moment.

Some of you out there might not be aware of this, but there’s a certain burden that comes with being a woman of color in the film criticism space. To be truthful, I don’t feel this burden all of the time, but I always know it’s there. As I’m surprised to find, writing this review for A Wrinkle in Time happens to be one of those times in which I distinctly feel the pressure I’m under as a black woman to like and laud A Wrinkle in Time, to support director Ava DuVernay. But I can’t honestly do that. The film has a multitude of issues that must be addressed.

However, the film itself can also be reviewed on two different levels: how it performs as a film for children and how it performs as a film for adults.

The message of A Wrinkle in Time 

The best aspect of A Wrinkle in Time is its message, which can be boiled down to Oprah Winfrey’s line “Be a warrior.” The line isn’t my favorite way of summing up the film’s message, which I think could be more aptly said as “you matter.”

Indeed, the concept of mattering is central to the story, and it’s where the film’s heart lies. In my adult head, I could see what wasn’t working thematically and where scenes needed better direction, better conceptualization, and more attention. But Meg Murry’s (Storm Reid) journey towards finding herself hit home with me in a personal way, in a way the child in me could recognize and appreciate.

I’m sure that if I was a 13-year-old, I’d be all over this movie simply because of Meg. Even though I grew up during the ‘90s, which had plenty of black programming, I still never really saw myself, a girl who was intensely unsure of herself, insecure, and self-degrading. I can honestly say I hated myself growing up, just like Meg, and like her, I wanted to come back to myself as someone different. I wanted to be the girl that I thought boys liked. I wanted to be the girl that would be seen as popular and not just “smart.” I didn’t want to be a dork.

If I’d seen Meg’s journey as a kid, I would have felt a lot more confident about myself, especially with regards to matters of the heart. I would have realized that I had everything I needed to be a self-assured, vibrant, attractive person. People can forget how important it is for tweens and teens to see that the attributes they hate most about themselves can actually be the attributes that attract people the most. Seeing Meg get complimented by Calvin (Levi Miller), someone she considers out of her league, is special since it’s he’s complimenting the two things black and biracial girls are often told aren’t beautiful – her intelligence and her coily, non-Eurocentric hair. I feel a lot of girls will come away from this film feeling like they can finally do away with their fantasies of being “the cool girl,” since as we see in the film, the cool girl (Rowan Blanchard) has her own set of problems, too.

Even better is seeing Meg slowly learn how to stand up for herself and how to love herself. The quote from Rumi that acts as a driving force throughout the film – “The wound is the place where the Light enters you,” is something I needed to hear as my adult self. Too often, we forget that all of our emotional baggage is cluttering up the spot where we can actually find ourselves. Like Meg, we’re often too afraid to actually look in those dark spaces and get to the answers. I guess to that end, the line “be a warrior” makes sense; we have to be warriors of our own lives in order to master ourselves. That’s basically what this intergalactic journey was for Meg; a journey of self-discovery and self-mastery.

In short, the importance of A Wrinkle in Time can’t be understated. It is, without a doubt, an important film. But its importance shouldn’t be measured by our adult standards. It needs to be measured by the message it hopes to instill in kids, especially girls who are vulnerable to all types of societal propaganda about what it means to be a woman. This film wants all kids to grow up as self-empowered, confident warriors of the Light, who fight for what’s right even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular to do so. Regardless of what you think about the film, this is a message that can only do good for its young viewers.

However, this film can be viewed from both the eyes of a child and the eyes of an adult. So it’s time to switch from my kid point of view to my adult one. And boy, does my adult self have a lot to say.

Continue Reading A Wrinkle in Time Spoiler Review >>

Pages: 1 2 3Next page

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

About the Author

Monique Jones runs JUST ADD COLOR, a site focusing on race and culture in entertainment. She has written for Ebony, Tor, Black Girl Nerds, The Nerds of Color.