‘A Wrinkle in Time’ captures the magic of our modern world

Ava Duvernay examines the values of our society in her retelling of the classic

Eileen MacDonald, Staff Reporter
Originally published March 29, 2018

In award winning director Ava Duvernay’s re-imagination of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, she plays with the parallels of realism and the magical realm, and where those two concepts intersect within our world and our souls. Utilizing a diverse cast of characters and a vibrant color palette, she gives a classic book a new layer of relevance that warms the heart and makes you want to hug everyone you hold dear.

The film opens with a touching moment between a little girl, Meg Murry (Storm Reid), and her father (Chris Pine). Pine, a scientist who is apparently on the verge of a revolutionary breakthrough concerning interdimensional travel, mysteriously disappears after meeting his adopted son and Meg’s new brother for the first time. Fast-forward four years, and Meg and her brother Charles-Wallace (Deric McCabe), now five years old, meet three magical beings and are sent on an adventure throughout the Universe to find their father and defeat the “It,” with the help of the earnest boy next door Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller).

With powerful performances from the whole cast, the ones that stand out the most come from some of the youngest cast members, particularly from Reid and McCabe, whose young faces at first glance appear simple and unweathered by complex realities. They quickly defy these expectations however, displaying nuance and grit that never wavers.

Reid, now 14 years old, gives a character that could so easily become an archetype new life. Meg is a character riddled with insecurities and hardship; a girl who is not only on a journey to find her father, but also to find what makes her feel whole. Her incompletion defines her until she channels it to achieve her goals. She is relatable to many, but with Duverne and Reid’s visionary take, her story appeals to a specific but universally visible audience: those who cannot see the beauty in their faults, and those who are afraid of their strengths.

Meanwhile, McCabe emerges as a chameleon capable of melting hearts and, when necessary, crushing them. He captures the maturity and eloquence characteristic of Charles-Wallace, while still managing to channel the childhood joy that comes with discovery and learning.

What is most intriguing about the timing of this film is the concept of “It.” In the story, L’Engle uses the term “It” to label darkness and evil. The vague description is what makes it appear so terrifying, as it implies that “it” can innocently feed off of anger and grow stronger without us realizing until it’s too late. Duverne’s depiction of it, while visually stimulating, felt unnecessary, and drew focus from the elusive and undefinable truth of what evil truly is. Evil does not have one form. It hides everywhere it can.

The film in this day and age feels important, and its earnest dialogue while borderline sententious was resonant with many problems we face today. It toys with the concepts of power and genius and the corruption that can stem from them, and above all reminds the watcher that love is the best tool one can have. Even when Meg has every reason to be angry at the world, she fights through it with the love she has for her family. Every act of love weakens “It,” both in the film, and in our lives, and those that reject love let the “It” into their hearts. The film serves as a reminder that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have the power to change your life and change the world, if not with an interdimensional Tesseract, then simply with love.