Michaeline: A Wrinkle in Time

I mentioned it last week, but I’ve been travelling in the States for a couple of weeks, and been absorbing story right through my skin!

(Official trailer from YouTube)

Thursday, I got to see A Wrinkle in Time. My mom mentioned that I loved the book as a kid, and I do seem to remember reading it more than once. None of the details stuck, but the essence? Oh, yeah. The movie brought back all those feelings, and those positive messages of love that the book gave me through my mixed-up tween and early teen years.

First, a quick review of the movie: gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The actors are gorgeous, the costuming gorgeous, and the scenery gorgeous. I’ve seen gorgeous shows before — when I watched Wonder Woman this winter, I was blown away by the cinematography. But, I felt there was something lacking in WW. Maybe the fact that it was an origins story kept me from loving WW; I felt the movie lacked a certain amount of heart. So many people (including my movie buddy) loved it, but I just liked it. I thought that perhaps it was because I had already worked through a lot of the issues that Wonder Woman is processing. Maybe if I’d seen it in my 20s, I would have loved the sight of strong women kicking ass. But in my 40s? I do seem to remember thinking, “Well, kicking ass is fine, but who is going to clean up all this mess?” Wonder Woman was not a stand-alone movie, and I’m not patient enough these days to wait for the next installment.

A Wrinkle in Time, however, was a stand-alone movie. Possibly, it will be an origins movie. I remember two sequels to the book, and Wikipedia says it’s a Time Quintet. But, the movie was just fine, as far as tying up loose threads and giving the viewer a satisfying ending.

The movie certainly is glittery. I noticed all the costume changes, and remember thinking at one point, “My goodness, this is like the Disney Princesses got a Barbie-size wardrobe.” (-: Much to my amusement, I found out during the credits that this is a Disney movie. Usually in animation and many fantasy movies, the characters keep the same costumes (plain as school uniforms or fanciful as a queen’s ball gown) for the entire film, but here, the three Mrs. characters kept changing clothes and makeup, and it really was fabulous.

My favorite costume change was when Mrs. Whatsit turned into a flying creature — bird-like in face, but like a giant kale leaf in body. Just amazing, and so pretty! Here’s another anime reference for you: Ghibli. The wind plays a major role in the visuals of this movie. And one more anime reference for you: Amano drew a children’s cartoon that featured characters that were vegetables. One of the grand dames of the cartoon was a Chinese cabbage, who rippled and flowed much like the avian Mrs. Whatsit. Even if you haven’t seen A Wrinkle in Time, I think you should check out this vid on YouTube of Amano’s Grand Cabbage. There isn’t a great shot of Madame Chou, but you can see her at 0:23, and get an idea of the flowing nature of the characters from the rest of the 1:37 video. How do people put these random ideas together to create something so beautiful? It makes me suspect that there really are such a thing as muses.

A Wrinkle in Time is a two-tissue-box movie. I was crying almost from the time when I sat down (I got to the movie just as a bullying scene was taking place), and then I kept choking back tears here and there in the movie. But it was a good kind of crying. Normally, I can’t stand crying in theaters. But I didn’t feel like I was being manipulated by cheap string-pulling. (-: I was probably manipulated by exquisite, subtle string-pulling of the expensive variety. Maybe there are still some issues leftover from when I was 12 that I need to work on, still.

There is a sweet romance between young Meg and Calvin which is somewhat mirrored by the secondary (but more developed romance) between Meg’s mother and father.

Definitely a movie for the big screen, and one you should see with writing friends. Don’t forget to have at least three tissues — I only had one left, and I exited the theater with wet tissue shreds down the front of my navy shirt.

7 thoughts on “Michaeline: A Wrinkle in Time

  1. A Wrinkle in Time is one of my top 10 (maybe 5) books of all time and one I’ve read multiple times. I completely agree about the costuming and cinematography. The movie is worth seeing for just those two elements.

    That said, as a lifelong WiT freak, I was frustrated with the changes they made to the story. In the book, Charles Wallace doesn’t just suddenly disappear. He makes a choice, based on inexperience and hubris, to go inside It, assuming he will be able to leave at will. Meg tries to talk him out of it, but he’s got Icarus syndrome in full display. The choice to just kind of kidnap him instead weakened the story.

    I get that bullying is a big issue these days, but it wasn’t a major theme in the book. The book was more about resisting internal bullying and being yourself.

    • I have got to read the book again; I think you are very right about the Charles Wallace thing. One thing about watching the movie: I was struck that Charles Wallace is very much around the “confirmation time” for many Christian sects. He’s right on the edge of taking responsibility for his own actions, and being “an innocent”. He’s wise beyond his age, but he’s just a susceptible to the darkness of the It as anyone else.

      I think perhaps the book (even though I’ve forgotten most of it) primed me to just accept that sudden change in the kid, from innocent savant to savage judge. It was a problem, but not a big one for me.

      Good point about the internal bullying — I think bullying (external) is such a big problem because kids don’t have the tools to reject those judgements — their own internal bullies whisper agreement with the external bullies, and sometimes the echoes get too loud to handle.

  2. I saw the movie, too, and completely agree with you, Michaeline, about the costuming and the general look of the film. Utterly beautiful and magical. Unfortunately, story-wise, it left me cold. I never read the book , and that might explain some of it. I always thought it was published when I was too old to have crossed paths with it, but now I see I would have been12 or so, so prime age for it. Maybe I thought it was a children’s book—I was reading in the adult section of the library by then, so it might have passed me by.

    That said, I didn’t think the story was very compelling as presented in the film (“get the father back” could be emotionally powerful, but it wasn’t for me. Maybe there weren’t enough scenes of how great the father was? I don’t know). And the adult characters played by Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey seemed awfully remote. I didn’t feel engaged with them at all, and some of Mindy Kaling’s costumes seemed to impede her movement, and I was distracted by that, too.

    I felt bad that I didn’t like it more. I’d just seen Black Panther, and while I am not a fan of the big Marvel-DC Comics-action hero-type film, it was such a cultural phenomenon that I had to go, and I thought it was a pretty good movie. Protagonist, check. Antagonist, check. Bodies in motion, check. Humor, heartbreak, drama, check. So I wanted to enjoy Wrinkle as much, or more.

    • I don’t know why I found the story so compelling, but I cried a lot about the unfairness issues, and nodded my head at a lot of the other bits of wisdom scattered through the story — for example, how can they tell what’s going on in your head if you don’t say?

      There were some new-agey philosophies that made me cringe slightly. There was something like, “You can’t do it because you aren’t trying hard enough” which is such a bombshell of a statement. IIRC, it was delivered by Zach Galifiankis, who is an edgy comedian. I’m often wondering if he’s delivering wisdom or mockery. And in real life, yes, sometimes the extra effort is needed to pull things off, and sometimes in life, you are putting in 100 percent, and not pulling it off.

      Rescuing the father has always had a strong pull for me, though I don’t think I write it, myself. But for me, that isn’t the driving force of the story. The driving force that makes me stick with it is a young girl learning to assert herself in the world; bildungsroman? I love a good build-em-up story.

      I guess for me, Black Panther didn’t have enough bildungsroman. There are father-issues involved, but they were solved rather neatly. The characters were bodies in motion, yeah (oh, boy, they were bodies in motion! I loved some of the visual puns they did with the car chases! Especially the one where the cars get stripped down to nothing, and two of the women are just basically riding the chassis to a stop like a surfboard!), but how much change was actually accomplished?

      Comic books aren’t about internal change, so much, I think. I mean, it’s nice when it happens, but a comic book story is intended to last for as many years as it possibly can. With any series, a writer can take two approaches: 1) make the changes, and trust that the characters will still not be perfect, and will meet new challenges that change them even more, or 2) hold off on the changes and save them for the end of a trilogy section, or something like that. I believe comic book readers understand the conventions, so are more patient about getting that payoff. But, in classic comic books, change only comes after decades. How long did it take Clark Kent to get a date with Lois Lane? How long is it going to be before T’Challa and Nakia start dating seriously again?

      One thing I will say; it’s a good year for movies so far! I wish I had had time to watch *Ready Player One*, but I guess I’ll have to save it for DVD.

  3. I loved that series so much! My fifth-grade teacher read to us every day after lunch. (It was so nice to still be read to, even though we were well past the age of being able to read to ourselves.) Two of the books she read to us that year were A Wrinkle In Time and A Wind in the Door, and I read the rest of the series on my own. The other book I remember her reading that year was Island of the Blue Dolphins. Le sigh. I might need to revisit all of these in a nostalgia reading weekend soon!

    • (-: I remember the Island of the Blue Dolphins! Hooray for fifth- and sixth-grade teachers! Mine also read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and I believe she was the one who recommended A Wrinkle in Time to me. I remember those as being great reading years (-:!

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