Adults, Set Your Cynicism Aside: ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Reminds Kids that Love Leads the Way

“Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.”“Nothing is hopeless; we must hope for everything.” A Wrinkle In Time was not just my favorite book as a child, it was mind-opening, life changing and so incredibly important to me. And the movie did not disappoint. 

A Wrinkle in Time was a story that I needed as an awkward, insecure, unpopular kid coming of age just like Meg Murray. The story said I could love myself just as I was, that the universe was infinitely more vast and complicated than I could ever know, and that love and light were the way forward.

Now, the movie has come at just the right time with a story that reminds us that it is love—love for self, for family, for others—that will lead us out of the darkness.

The movie seems to be coming under criticism for a lot of the same reasons the book did: It is too earnest, the criticism says, it dwells too much on whimsies of science and spiritually alike, too concerned with the celebration of self— in particular, a teenage girl’s celebration of self.

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But all of these things were exactly why the book, and now the movie, worked for me. It’s deeply respectful of children’s innate intelligence and curiosity: Why shouldn’t kids be interested the complex workings of the universe? At a time when cynicism and jadedness seem to be the only ideals worth taking seriously, A Wrinkle In Time reminds us that it’s far more important to lead with our hearts. I wish I could be surprised at the dismissal of a story centralizing the journey of a teenage girl, but sadly I am not. And to that I say: Meg Murray, like all girls her age, is the star of her own story, the central character in her own narrative, and in a landscape where girls are still mostly the sidekick or the prize to be won at the end if they’re even in the story at all, A Wrinkle In Time is vital to the landscape of stories we’re telling.

The movie is stunning, captivating and colorful. The three Mrs. were delightful and inspiring (plus, you know, Oprah) and the kid characters felt just right.

There were a few moments that didn’t work for me: I wish Calvin’s mediation skills had been more evident, as they are in the book, that’s why he was there after all! And a more thorough exploration of Charles Wallace’s unique mind and how it was both a strength and weakness was also missing. I would have liked to see more of Camazotz and its currently relevant commentary on conformity and handing over free will under the guise of safety and contentment.

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But the movie stands on its own just fine without any of that, and anyway, the movie is not the book and that’s fine with me. I was thrilled to see the fantastical images that I had only imagined for so long up on a big screen. My kids were captivated and moved, and very hopeful that Disney World will make a ride based on the scene where Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace take a ride on Mrs. Whatsit’s flying dragon-plant-creature form.

So to the jaded adults who don’t see the point of this movie, set aside the cynicism for ninety minutes and take in the beauty, wonder, and earnestness of this film, and consider the importance of it for all of the kids who may feel represented onscreen for the first time, who will be moved by its message of love and hope, or who will just enjoy the cool visuals and exciting story.

I laughed, I cried (like four times), my kids loved it, and we got to see a giant ethereal Oprah doling out inspiration and life advice. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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