After Hours: A Wrinkle In Time – A product of our time

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After Hours: A Wrinkle In Time – A product of our time

Sarah Nicholson, Blogger

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What is the role of a girl? Anything she chooses to be. A warrior, savior, homemaker, scientist, literally anything she wants to be and that’s why I really enjoyed watching A Wrinkle in Time. So often I avoid “kid’s movies” because they are predictable and about as deep as a puddle. They didn’t challenge me as a kid, so I have very little time for them as an adult. However, sometimes film-makers try something knew and there is a lot that is new in terms of A Wrinkle in Time.

There was talk before it’s release that the movie would be about breaking down barriers, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I was sitting in the auditorium and the movie drops this obscure science reference, that I actually understood. I understood it and in that moment I stopped seeing this as a strictly kids movie and started seeing it as a movie with possibility. But more about the break down of boundaries in a minute.

The short line for the plot goes like this; Mrs. and Mr. Murry are two very smart scientists who are working on unraveling the mysteries of the universe, while raising their two children, Meg and Charles Wallace. When Mr. Murry goes missing the family is changed and Meg takes it particularly hard. Fast forward four years, and things have not gotten better. Convinced her father is dead, Meg is startled when Charles Wallace introduces her and Calvin, a friend of Megs, to the MRSs. These celestial beings have come to help the children find their father before it’s too late and he’s lost forever. Meg is doubtful of them from the beginning but as with any adventure that’s worth the paper its written on, some things need to be taken with a leap of faith.

As I’m sure anyone who’s seen the trailers can guess, the visuals were stunning and other worldly. The costume design was fresh and perfect for a world built out of possibilities. There was a glorious amount of conceptually fresh ideas, even if I felt that the planet hopping felt a little glossed and underdeveloped in terms of story.

But where this movie lives is in the dialogue and ideas presented. Like I said the Murry’s are scientists, but they were also an interracial couple, with equally present, respected and caring parents. The mother in this movie is just as strong in science as her husband and doesn’t fall apart when he disappears, even though she misses him too. These are all important because every aspect of this design for the parent’s relationship breaks with conventional Hollywood in favor of a richer design. It is never doubted that Charles Wallace and Meg are loved by their parents or that they are in someway limited based on gender. The opening of the movie shows Meg in her father’s lab helping him with an experiment and it becomes clear that she is only as limited as she chooses to be.

This is tested later after her father is gone, when she is continually encouraged by people at school to give up on the idea that he is ever coming back or even alive. Charles Wallace, who was a baby when Mr. Murry disappeared, however, is the heart of the movie, because he refuses to accept things just because that’s the way people say it is. His intelligence is obvious but then so is Megs. She recognizes complex scientific principles that surround them and use them to help complete the mission. All of this is again a way of flipping what we expect from these roles in film. Even their friend Calvin is included. He is a brilliant young man, who is often belittled by his father, but rather than be hateful, he is kind and makes no apologizes for not being what other people think he should be.

Yes, Storm Reid who plays Meg is a young, strong, actress of color leading the film and her performance is inspiring, but she is the tip of the iceberg when comes to positive messages multi-folded into this film. Whether it’s the belief that children are capable of great and complex things, which they are by the way, or that even father’s need rescuing, this movie presents a pure idealism that wins out simply because the people who made it were willing to throw out  “what should be” in favor of “what is possible.”

I encourage people to see this movie, but I also encourage them to keep an open mind. Forget what you know about how a story should be told and instead listen to what they are actually saying. If this movie is your cup of tea and your looking for other movies that poke at the possibilities of what we know, I encourage you the checkout The BFG, Matilda, The Secret Garden, Hook and August Rush.