I finally read A Wrinkle in Time after I saw the movie a couple of weeks ago. Confession time: I couldn’t finish it in middle school and was highly disillusioned about it, I don’t think I would have picked this book up again if it weren’t for the masterfully done movie adaptation starring Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindi Kaling. That being said, I know exactly why I didn’t like this book at 12, I lack the patience I do now (not that I’m super patient) and I was being made to read it by a teacher and sometimes I bucked authority. Even now Madeline L’Engle’s writing style doesn’t work the best for me; that being said, I appreciated this book for what it does with a female main character and science fiction, and even more so I appreciate the movie for how it accomplishes the same things as the book with a phenomenal set of diverse characters.
After having watched the book and read the movie I want to chat about the adaptation and my thoughts about the changes that were and weren’t made and the effects of the adaptation!
THAT BEING SAID: SPOILERS WILL ABOUND IN THIS POST SO PROCEED WITH CAUTION 😉
Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which
I am so here for having these three awesome characters being played by three badass women. For the most part I think that the adaptation got the characterization done really well. as far as the way they acted, however, I wish that they didn’t feel the need to make them quite so glamorous. One of the things that was cool about these characters was that they didn’t have dramatic beautiful costumes, when Mrs. Whatsit was on earth she “was completely bundled up in clothes” (16), and Mrs. Which was rarely completely corporeal. Also, I’m not sure if the weird piece of lettuce that Mrs. Whatsit turned into was completely what I would have gotten from the text.
I think my favorite part of the adaptation of these characters was the way that Mrs. Who’s quotations were updated. I was so pumped for the Hamilton quotation at the end, and it was really fun to see the pop culture scattered in to make this just a little more contemporary for its audience. Mrs. Who in the book does use her own words more than Mrs. Who does on screen and I wish that hadn’t been changed.
Storm Reid as Meg Murry was everything I needed it to be. Reading Meg as white is chill, but this representation is so strong and so important to be seen on the big screen. Our black female characters need to just as complex as our white female characters. Meg is stubborn, good at math, and struggles in social situations. Audience members can probably find something in Meg regardless of her skin color, but for those who do share her race this is even more important. Both Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time are so important for the film industry and I’m glad I got to see this representational shift in theaters.
Deric McCabe as Charles Wallace was honestly so fantastic, because watching an adorable child turn evil is bone-chilling and McCabe made that hurt to watch. I also like the added dimension of having him be adopted because it serves to alienate him just a little more from his family, and since the movie doesn’t have the alienating factor of Sandy and Dennys (Meg and Charles Wallace’s twin brothers that are in the book) this offers that effect in the same way. I do wish that the way Charles Wallace lets the IT into him was carried over more similarly from the book to the movie. In the movie, Charles Wallace just sort of lets and happen and walks away from Meg and Calvin. In the book, this choice is a conscious one. Charles Wallace lets the IT in to try and save their father and that amplifies the emotions present when Meg feels like she’s lost her brother.
That Scene with the Happy Medium
Zac Galifianakis—Why? Literally my response to this scene in the movie was just me questioning the choices that were made here, especially after having read the book. In the book, The Happy Medium is a woman, chill change the gender, no big deal—although having a man comfort Meg wasn’t really doing it for me especially after having watched her bond with three strong female characters. What did rub me very wrong about this scene was the decision to introduce some brief, really weird, romantic connection between The Happy Medium and Mrs. Whatsit. I didn’t need that, the kids watching this movie probably could have cared less—sure capitalize on Reese Witherspoon’s beauty, but I just felt like this was completely unnecessary addition to a scene that was pretty solid in the book.
RIP Aunt Beast. This scene comes before Meg has actually had a chance to rescue Charles Wallace from Camazotz. I really enjoyed this scene and after reading the book wish it had ended up in the movie. So here’s my homage to Aunt Beast.
If I wasn’t already terrified of suburbia before seeing this movie and reading this book, I definitely would be by the end of it. The details of Camazotz were really well done and for the most part were carried over effectively into the book. The most major difference I noticed was the scene in the scene with the wheat field and the tornado. I liked the inclusion of that scene because it gave Meg a chance to use her science/math knowledge and prove to herself that she was fully capable. Also, I just like wheat fields and tornados. The giant brain was also awesome. More giant brains in cinema, please.
Movie covers fill me with rage. Movies will come and go, but books (and especially this book I’d say) are going to stick around. I get the point of having the movie cover (#money), also they do get kids interested in books that they might not care about otherwise, but it also just frustrates me and I wanted to share that detail with all of you. But I also won’t lie, this is a very aesthetically pleasing cover.
So those are some of my thoughts and feelings about A Wrinkle in Time and its adaptation. Of course, I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please don’t hesitate to share!