A tween-friendly wrinkle

Eileen McCormick / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Oprah Winfrey plays Mrs. Which in ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. Disney

As soon as I saw a trailer for Disney’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ a few months ago, I knew I wanted to see the full movie, and I also knew I wanted to write this review. I later found out that the movie’s screenwriter, Jennifer Lee, is also the writer of the movie ‘Frozen’ which has been a pop sensation in Cambodia for the past few years. That being said this is a PG movie and it’s an amazing one to see with the family.

My overall statement for this review is that this is a movie made for kids and it’s not going to have the same style as Marvel and DC Comics.

Keeping in theme with March as women’s month I figured this would be a nice added review. Coming of age especially in the transition from girlhood to womanhood is weird. It’s awkward, and messy, and emotional. A combination of personal stress and societal pressure makes you see yourself as alone.

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I don’t remember how old I was when I first read ‘A Wrinkle in Time’. I think I read this book when I was in 5th grade but due to having no recollection of it, the movie diverging from the book doesn’t really bother me. However, many fans of the book have been outspoken about the disappointment in the movie, saying that it has taken out the creativity that they so really enjoyed in the novel.

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is based on a 1962 novel, by Madeleine L’Engle, about an intelligent but complicated girl named Meg Murry whose scientist father has been missing for years, with the town gossiping that he abandoned his family. However, three celestial beings – going by the names Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit – reveal that her father is being held captive by a mysterious “IT”. Meg, along with her genius brother Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin, must travel to a dangerous world of mass conformity in order to rescue him.

Storm Reid plays the role of Meg Murry. Photo: Disney

Having an atypical character such as Meg to relate to is what makes the book and this movie so inspirational. Meg is a different sort of role model. She is not well loved by figures of authority and her love is not for boys and clothes but for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Meg also transitions throughout the movie to understand self-love, which I think is important for pre teens. The movie opens up as she herself opens up to her own empowerment.

The movie has a dramatic theme and the cinematic filming style is done in such away that it’s as if Avatar and Alice in Wonderland gave birth to whatever magical creative work this movie can be classified under. The very dream-like effects with enhanced CGI animation really helps to capture the other worlds – where the plot takes the viewer to.

The best advice I can give adult viewers is don’t judge this movie as how you would pass comment on other superhero movies where the plot line intricately ties to make way for continued future films. “A Wrinkle in Time’ is one where you either choose to accept the obvious, but exaggerated logic, or choose to out rightly reject it .

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Now, allow me to go a bit more into the story I narrated earlier.

As I said, ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ starts with a family dealing with the sudden disappearance of their scientist father, Alex played by Chris Pine. He went missing four years ago and his daughter, Meg played by Storm Reid, seems to be the one in the family who struggles the most to try to understand what happened to him. As a result of her anger and confusion she becomes very misunderstood. Meg is bullied at school and instead of being supported by the principal she is blamed and told she needs to change her attitude.

Levi Miller poses at the premiere in Los Angeles.. Photo: Reuters

Meg’s highly intelligent younger brother, Charles Wallace played by Deric McCabe, is her biggest advocate and is one of the few who tries to provide her with hope. But unexpectedly an eccentrically dressed woman named Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) shows up in their living room and with the help of her fellow astral travelers, Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), tells Meg, Charles Wallace, and Meg’s friend Calvin (Levi Miller) that they can find Alex.

Just like in Alice in Wonderland, the viewer is taken down the rabbit-hole where the children land on different plants that each contain their own magic and enchantments. They first venture to a place called Urie with talking flowers (who happen to be the biggest gossips there) and a place were Mrs. Whatsit magically transforms into lettuces that the children can fly on.

But even the whimsical beauty in a children’s fairy tale cannot last long. Mirroring its source material, the eternal battle between good vs. evil and right vs. wrong is at the heart of the film. And in the enduring tradition of countless tales featuring a “chosen one”, Meg and her crew are sent out on a life transforming journey.

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In Camazotz, the planet under the reign of an evil power called “IT”, their journey takes a dangerous turn. It is within Camazotz’s creepy, deceitful settings – including an eerily overcrowded beach, a dark forest and an alarmingly uniform suburban neighborhood that we see what Meg is capable of.

Cast member Storm Reid at the Disney premiere. Photo: Reuters

Meg’s brother is abducted and taken to Camazotz and because Meg is the chosen one – the mission is hers and hers alone to not just go and find her father but also save her brother. Before departing she is given advice by Mrs. Whatsit, who leaves Meg to fight her spiritual battle against evil with a special gift.

“I give you your faults,” says Mrs. Whatsit. In the end, loving herself for these faults and knowing her brother loves her for her faults, Meg saves the day.

I will not state who lives, dies or is saved but will leave you with the underlining adolescence and maybe even adult lesson the film departs to the viewer which is, “the power to make the world a better place is buried inside you if you just believe.”

This month is a great chance to catch ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ on the big screen in local movie theaters around Phnom Penh. So hop the family on a flying piece of lettuce and enjoy the magical film and also join the ranks and become a warrior for light and all that is good.

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