Readers rejoice. The film adaptation of the classic A Wrinkle in Time is a sheer delight.
Book to film adaptations are always scrutinized because the book is typically so much better than the movie. This is not the case with Disney’s new A Wrinkle in Time. The movie is spectacular and absolutely worth seeing in the theater. The filmmakers were intentional in their goal to make a movie that respected the book, while still adapting it in a way that made sense for today and appropriate for the big screen.
I also want to note that if you haven’t read the book, this should not preclude you from going to see Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time movie. You will still love the film.
For those unfamiliar with the plot, here’s a quick overview from Disney:
Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted. Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Traveling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe.
Why the A Wrinkle in Time Movie is Awesome
The story: A Wrinkle in Time has been beloved by generations because of its powerful story. The film adaptation stays true to so many of the book’s best elements – the adventure, the Misses, the commentary of light and dark in the world, the emotions and the importance of family.
The casting: First off, the casting was absolutely perfect. Every cast member embodied their roles exactly like I imagined them in the book. The diversity represented is also wonderful – the cast looks like the world. I loved the people in this film and you will too. After all, you can’t go wrong with Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling as the beloved Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit. Storm Reid is also superb as Meg.
The costuming: Wow, wow, wow is all I can say about the costumes, particularly for the Misses characters. They are imaginative and visually jaw-dropping. I actually found myself grinning whenever the Misses would transform into new costumes. My favorite costumes were those for Mrs. Who, played by Mindy Kaling. They had so many textures and layers. (Next week I will be sharing more about the costuming and an interview with the costume director.)
The special effects: The movie is so visually arresting. The planets are stunning. The action sequences on the dark planet Camazotz are extremely well done and make the movie very exciting. The “tessering” that the characters practice to travel across dimensions is also really cool and truly captures the “wrinkle”.
The emotion: Yes, I cried both times I saw the film. The movie includes so much emotion in very relatable ways. Loss, fear, hope, love, grace and wonder. The A Wrinkle in Time movie spans the emotional human experience in a way few movies for children do.
The message of love: Ultimately, A Wrinkle in Time is a message about family, love and the ties that bind us. It is a powerful opportunity to have conversations with our kids about love, kindness, friendship and hope.
What’s different from the A Wrinkle in Time book?
I’m not going to nitpick every difference, but here are a few differences that really stood out to me.The McMurray twins are not in the film. Dr. McMurray is a more practical scientist (no cooking dinner on bunson burners!) Aunt Beast is also not included. Interestingly, the screenwriter Jennifer Lee shared that Aunt Beast was originally shot for the film, but it ended up being cut. (I’ll be sharing more of our interview with her next week.)
The story is fleshed out at the beginning about Meg having a tough time with her father being missing, which, while different from the book, I found to be a wonderful addition. We really got to know Meg and understand her as a person before traveling to other dimensions and experiencing the wonder of the movie.
Jennifer also shared in an interview we did with her (more to come), “I think the most important thing was, really being true to the emotional journey. And not trying to be the book. Because if we tried to be the book, I think we’d let people down in that way. I just wanted this to feel like A Wrinkle in Time.”
Similarly, when we asked director Ava DuVernay how they chose what was kept from the book and what was eliminated she said,
It’s challenging to try to figure out gosh, so many people love this book. What do you keep out? What do you do? But, you know, I thought to myself I had to write, rewrite the speeches of Dr. King for Selma because we didn’t have rights to the speeches so I actually had to — whatever David Oyelowo says in the film, Selma, those are not King’s actual words. I had to rewrite those speeches and what I did there was just looked at this intention. What did Dr. King intent to say? Let me try to say it in a different way so then I honored in intention.
It was the same thing here with Madeleine L’Engle. What did she intend to say to kids? What did she want to get across? Am I getting that feeling across? Interesting thing is early on when we were talking to people about the book people were like oh, my gosh that’s my favorite book from when I was young. I love that book. And then we’d say so what was your favorite character besides Meg and Charles Wallace and they’d be like hmmm? They’re adults. They couldn’t remember. What was your favorite planet? What was the name of this planet? We asked them specific questions. They didn’t know the specifics. They just know the way the book made them feel. They remember that.
So I thought okay, if I can just make them feel good, feel like they felt then you get the intention so you free yourself up from having to hit every single page.
I think they were incredibly successful in their pursuit. The movie feels like A Wrinkle in Time in all the best ways, even though a few things are missing from the book.
Who should see A Wrinkle in Time?
Ava DuVernay sums it best when she says that “this is a movie for kids, and if you still have a kid in you, it could be for you too.”
— Variety (@Variety) February 27, 2018
Ava stated multiple times that this movie is geared toward kids who are 8-12. Adeline will be 7 in June and we plan to take her.
However, I don’t think I would take a child younger than 6.5-7 because there are two scenes that might be scary for young audiences and the storyline is deep for a young kid. Elias will be 10 in July and he is going to absolutely LOVE the film.
Additional Ways to Engage Your Kids in A Wrinkle in Time
Of course, reading the book is a great way to start! I bought and read the book before seeing the movie. I read it a couple weeks ago and Elias is reading it now. I am excited to talk with Elias about the book and the movie and how they compared. He has been devouring it all week. (Check out this post on questions to ask your kids about books/movie tie-ins.)
After seeing the movie, I headed to Amazon to see what other books and materials I could find and bought several items in the collection. I wanted to check it all out for you, and I knew my kids would love them. The short answer is, you can’t go wrong with any of these books! They are so well done.
Elias is loving the Book of Fun, Facts and Science which includes puzzles, quizzes, math challenges and more. He said to me the other night, “Thank you for buying this for me, Mommy. I love it.” No higher praise than unprompted gratitude.
Adeline is loving the Journal for Writers, Creators and Thinkers. Though some of the words skew above her grade level, she has been carefully working her way through. I love watching her think and process.
I also bought the illustrated book, A Guide to the Universe. It just arrived, but Elias is already excited about it. It is a book where every chapter is written in a different character’s voice. I think it will be especially fun for Elias to read after seeing the movie.
The popular site Read Aloud Revival is also offering a free A Wrinkle in Time reading guide that is worth checking out.
A Wrinkle in Time opens March 9. I hope you will take your families to see it. It is an incredible movie!