These last few months have been fantastic for the movies that I think we’ve all dreamed of watching as kids: Movies that act as mirrors of our own lives, and windows into the lives of others, filled with possibilities of a brighter future. I’ve watched more movies in the last few months than I have all year, and each one filled me with hope — Black Panther, A Wrinkle in Time, and Love, Simon. This may be a YA blog, but we’ve got to talk about A Wrinkle in Time! (Beware of spoilers!) Here we go…
First things first, have any of you read the book?
Jessica: I read A Wrinkle in Time back in high school, and I think it’s best read as a kid, so a lot of the magic was lost on jaded high schooler me. I went into the movie with only the vaguest memories of the book.
Audrey: I first read the book in sixth grade, and it swept me away. Unfortunately it has been a good decade since I’ve reread the book–it’s on my bookshelf! I just wasn’t able to get to it before I went to see the movie!–so my memories were really hazy.
Crystal: When I was in elementary school a traveling group of actors came and did a mini-play of A Wrinkle in Time. That made me want to read it and I did, but didn’t totally understand all of the more complicated ideas. I re-read it several times as a teen and adult. I wanted to re-read it before watching, but I’m kind of glad I didn’t so I wasn’t constantly comparing the two. As it was, the biggest difference I noticed was the absence of Christianity. In my memory, the book contained a significant amount of Christianity and wonderings about God.
Imani: I first read it when I was 9, I think, and a few times as a pre-teen, but I haven’t read it since. I debated about reading it before the movie, but didn’t have a chance and like Crystal, I’m glad I didn’t because I would have been comparing the two.
Did you ever imagine the movie would end up being adapted like this? Did it live up to your expectations? Surpass it?
Crystal: I had not imagined such glitter. It surpassed my expectations with the vibrancy of it all. It was bigger, brighter, and more magical than I had expected. I think of it as a sciency, somewhat sterile and black and white type of story. My memories of the book don’t include color.
Imani: LOL at “such glitter”. I had that thought so many times throughout the movie, especially the close ups of Oprah. I couldn’t help but focus on her make-up and wondered how I could get that much glitter on my face for Halloween! I digress, though. I don’t think I ever imagined it could be a movie, but I loved this adaptation. It was such a visual feast of the senses. I loved how Ava visually showed “tessering” that made it easy for us to understand how to bend time and space. When Meg goes through the last time, and we really got to see what it was like, tears just started streaming down my face. I felt her joy in that moment.
Audrey: One of the hardest things to do in a book-to-movie adaptation is to capture the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I don’t mind so much when things are cut or scenes are rearranged because there’s a lot less space in a movie, and the best adaptations keep focused on the key events and the heart of the characters. In this, A Wrinkle in Tiime was excellent–I loved Meg’s story, and like K. Imani, I started crying when we (and Meg) finally got to see what tessering was like.
Jessica: The movie definitely surpassed my expectations (which were pretty high, thanks to the trailer!). In diversity discussions, the imagery of ‘mirrors and windows’ is brought up a lot. A Wrinkle in Time is a wonderful mirror, so bright and imaginative. It sure doesn’t hurt to see a giant, divine version of Oprah affirming your very soul. It’s the kind of movie that I want to show to every kid I know.
What stood out to you in the movie? What gave you hope?
Crystal: I agree, the divine Oprah was awesome. The love gave me hope. Love for others, but also love for self. The movie is dripping with love and hope in spite of the evil lurking.
Imani: The diversity of the movie, specifically Storm Reid as Meg, is what was the draw for me as well. I cried at various times during the movie because seeing a Black girl on screen in a story I loved just touched my inner child. Of course, seeing giant, divine Oprah telling us all to be warriors was just what I (and my inner child) needed.
Audrey: Honestly, this is the kind of movie I longed for as a kid. I was a huge SFF nerd growing up and almost never saw anyone who looked remotely like me. This version of Meg was not me, but it was much closer, and I just adored watching Meg come into her own and relearn to love herself. (And I adored how much Calvin adored her.) My friends and I left the theater happy and hopeful and grateful we had been able to see it.
Were there any obvious or less obvious themes in the movie that you noticed?
Jessica: The power of love is central to the book and the movie, and it’s refreshing how in-your-face it is. (I cried a lot over Charles Wallace and Meg.) One theme that jumps to my mind is an extension of the power of love — the power of embracing yourself, faults and all. Watching Meg admit her faults and then count them as her strengths was one of my favorite moments of the movie.
Crystal: My most significant memories of the book include the love between Charles Wallace and Meg. I’m glad that was also central in the movie. I loved Meg’s growth throughout the story. There were tears shed on my part when she was struggling with self acceptance.
Imani: Gosh, the theme of love is what had me crying so much throughout the movie, especially Meg learning to love herself. She was so insecure about her looks, specifically her hair, that resonated with me deeply. Black girls & women have a unique relationship with their hair and I liked that the movie touched on that. My heart broke for Meg in how much her love for her dad and his disappearance broke her. I thought of many of my students whose parents have been deported and how they just practically become different people because they love their parents and can’t be with them. The fact that love is what called the Misses and what could help them travel through space and time just made my heart burst with… love.
Audrey: Like the rest of you, I really enjoyed how powerful familial love was in the movie. Meg’s love for her family–and her love for herself–saved the universe, and that’s such a radical message. I loved Meg’s arc in the movie. I desperately wish I had seen something like that for myself as a child.
No matter how great it is, A Wrinkle of Time is not the final word on quality representation in movie adaptations of our favorite books. There’s got to be more! What movie adaptations are you looking forward to in the future?
Jessica: On my list is Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians (okay, it’s not YA, but still) and Jenny Han’s To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. And of course, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give.
Crystal: I want to see every single one of these you’ve mentioned. I don’t know of any others right now, but will be on the lookout for more.
Imani: I can’t wait for The Hate U Give, and so can’t my students. I’m also looking forward to the Children of Blood & Bone adaptation. I hope they do it right, and I think they will after the success of Black Panther. I also think Dread Nation would make a great movie, as well as Ember in the Ashes, The Court of Five series… just really any diverse SFF would make me happy.
Audrey: Same to all of the above–especially The Hate U Give. And if we’re concocting a wishlist, I’d love to see Wild Beauty or Rebel Seoul on the big screen! SFF is the key to my heart, and I very much want to see more people of color and indigenous people telling their stories and taking up space in there.
So, did you watch A Wrinkle in Time? What did you think? And what book to movie adaptations are you looking forward to? Share with us!