I was always told to be nice to others because you never know what someone is going through. I didn’t think too much of it until I started going through things in my own life. Even as a teenager, I still harbored negative energy I felt for my father leaving our family years prior. This negative energy built inside of me for a long time, yet I didn’t realize it. My bitchy attitude in high school, was simply because I wanted to be that way. That’s what I had convinced myself. My mom always told me “boys don’t give you things for nothing”. Meaning, a gift, a compliment, anything would equate to them wanting a physical token of gratitude.
Between my unaddressed anger issues and my suspicious attitude towards the opposite sex, I had my fair share of bumpy roads in my teens and even in my 20s.
The movie adaptation of the book A Wrinkle In Time touched on those same issues that I faced. The author, Madeleine L’Engle, wrote the book over 50 years ago. And while the fashion, language, and events of the book may be antiquated, the director, Ava DuVernay, was able to still convey the story’s main message of self love.
As I watched the movie, I saw the main character Meg Murray (played by Storm Reid) struggle with the loss of her father, bullying at school and the struggle of accepting herself, flaws and all. Meg represented a lot of people in my life, including myself. I saw my daughters in Meg. I saw friends in Meg. I saw myself in Meg.
When you’re unsure of yourself, it’s hard to understand what others see in you.
Charles Wallace (played by Deric McCabe), Meg’s younger brother, sees just how special his sister is. It’s his insistence on her seeing it for herself that leads them through their journey to find their father. While Meg second guesses the possibility of finding her father, Charles Wallace jumps in without hesitation. Charles Wallace is the leader for most of this film. With his guides, The Mrs., he essentially drags Meg through intergalactic travel. It’s not until the end of the film that the tables turn and Meg is now the leader, pulling her brother into the light that he once shined brightly. Meg is forced to look past her own insecurities, and abandon the father she traveled so far to find and project her own light to save humanity.
What Ava has done with the cinematography in this film is extraordinary. For those that considered the original book timeless, I think Ava modernized it by choosing a child of color to play the leading role. While most were amazed by the special effects, costume design and cosmic makeup, I picked up on the use of background pictures and props that depicted several people of color. From the mural in the high school, with several notable African American civil rights leaders, to the powerful shot of Charles Wallace sitting next to a picture of James Baldwin in the principal’s office. While these seemed like subtleties to most, I thought they were powerful declarations by the director.
Outside of the glitz and glam that the movie trailers shared in the past several months, I was happy to see that there was more to the movie than that. It took a few days after viewing this film, to fully digest what I watched. I walked out of the theater not sure how I felt about the movie. Honestly. It wasn’t an instant love for me. But after carefully replaying scenes in my head and applying them to my girls, I loved the movie for what it was intended to be. I charge my girls with advocating for themselves, and I think this movie shows how powerful self love and positive affirmation can be in life.
Kudos to Disney for selecting Ava to share this vision with the world.