The inner child in me still hasn't gotten over the undeserved blessing of seeing the beautiful cast of Black Panther on the big screen in all their melanin glory, and now here we are lucky to witness another gem, (based on one of my childhood favorites!) A Wrinkle In Time.
A Wrinkle in Time, the novel, inspired a generation of women-lead dystopian books. We wouldn't have Katniss Everdeen or Buffy the Vampire Slayer without Madeleine L'Engle introduce characters like Meg. Her vivid portrayal of a heroine’s science fiction journey was the first of many to come that summoned the power of a strong woman lead in novels that don’t need cheesy romance dripping from every page. This movie features the fierce debut of 14-year-old wonder Storm Reid, whose screen presence is just as big as her curly hair.
The cast, helmed by the iconic Ava Duvernay in the director's chair, perform a powerful service. With familiar diverse faces like Michael Pena and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (icons in their own right), we show brown and black children a film about science and imagination that they too belong in that universe. Far too often do we enter the gates of fantasy worlds and see everything from mythical creatures to sultry villains, yet somehow the notion of including people of color in this imagined universe where the impossible is suddenly possible, is too far-fetched.
A Wrinkle in Time breaks this toxic pattern by parading the melanin of its leading roles loud and proud. The prominent women in this film; Oprah, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon bring to life Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit. These women (the Wrinkles!) are incredibly powerful and play a huge role in the development of the plot- think of them as three godmothers, but cooler than Cinderella’s ever could have imagined being. They represent guidance and leadership, and at the same time look like the women in every day our lives. The examples of powerful women and WoC in this film aren't only what deserves highlight; it's the fact that this is a sci-fi fantasy film. Women, WoC, and minorities do not receive representation in cinemas when it comes to the sci-fi genre- that's why movies like Annialation and Black Panther are so crucial. The fact that a young black girl leads her brother and friend on an adventure to save the world is an essential storyline, and not some corny love triangle, is an amazing feat in itself.
Now, film critics (adults) have, well, been critical. I do recommend that people see this film, however, bear in mind that this is a film that requires you to suspend your disbelief. The film was heavily marketed towards children, so the comments on the film being too fantastical or dazzling are warranted. However, there are some criticisms that just don't quite work. Many want A Wrinkle In Time not to exist on its own, but as a competitor. We find the fact that for some, it is easy to place A Wrinkle in Time within the same lane as Black Panther. Annoyingly, we have to stomach headlines that paint Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay as competitors- as if there is only room for one film directed by a black person. DuVernay and Coogler, coming from humble origins, are capable of dominating the box office simultaneously. Hollywood has enough space for many black men and women to create, and to put forth the idea (intentionally or not) that there's a limit on black visionaries, is a disservice not only to the creators, but to the young minds that seek worlds filled with people that look like them to exist in.
Black boys and girls can see themselves behind the camera, or in front of it, as warriors, superheroes, and doctors and adventurers.
Banner Image via We Got This Covered