A no spoilers review of A Wrinkle In Time, a film based on the novel by Madeline L’Engle and directed by Ava DuVernay. A Wrinkle In Time is an incredible story of self-acceptance and the triumph of love over hate. Here’s my story of overcoming bullying as an adult- and how A Wrinkle In Time inspired me to do better and be better. Don’t forget to enter our A Wrinkle In Time prize pack giveaway in partnership with Allied Media of Denver!
Every single person has faults- and unfortunately most of us tend to focus more on our own faults than our strengths. So when other people point out our faults publicly, it can be really tough to handle. Have you ever had that person in your life that just constantly points out your faults?
My Story- Bullied As An Adult
I have- more than once. But I’ll share one story that has stuck with my for many years. I will never forget my first full time teaching job in the United States- I taught Spanish 1 at Longmont High School. I had just returned from living in Costa Rica for almost 4 years and I was (and still am) unequivocally convinced that bilingualism opens more doors than any other skill in the world.
To that end, I was willing to work really hard to help my students understand the importance of bilingualism beyond the classroom. Since I had just come home from Latin America I had all sorts of realia to incorporate into my lessons- verb conjugations paired with dancing to reggaetón songs, new vocabulary fill in the blanks with movies and Latin music, and of course tons of fun stories to share about my time abroad.
The students LOVED me- and I still have relationships with many of them today. Unfortunately, that the other (less hardworking) teachers in my department did not appreciate the zeal with with I was attaching my career. Every single fault I had was on display at department meetings- countless comments about my appearance, my lesson planning, and my eating habits. But the worst was when I found out they were making fun of me behind my back.
I had super long blonde hair which, when I’m nervous I still have the habit of putting up in a ponytail and taking down, unconsciously, many times throughout the day. At one point, I found a chart my coworkers had made where they would place bets on how many times I would change my hair in a day. When I thought they were coming by to check on me and see if I needed anything, they were actually checking my hair to see if they would win that day’s bet.
15 years later, I can recognize the behavior for what it was- bullying. But at the time, I was stymied. Why were people in a professional setting treating me poorly when, quite frankly, they had never take the time to get to know me?
About A Wrinkle In Time
Watching A Wrinkle In Time at the advanced press screening in Denver on Monday answered those questions for me- and more. If you haven’t read the book by Madeline L’Engle (published in 1962) I’d highly recommend it- it’s the first in a series of 5 and I can’t wait to read the rest of the novels.
The film’s protagonist Meg Murray, played by Storm Reid, is a girl of 12 or 13 trying to find her way in a tough world. She’s bullied at school, criticized and blamed for the disappearance of her father, and completely unsure of herself-many of the same feelings I felt when started teaching. Despite the fact that Meg is an incredibly smart and naturally beautiful young woman, she can only see her own faults, and therefore has very little confidence in who she is.
The story as told by director Ava DuVernay deviates a bit from the telling by author L’Engle because, in addition to highlighting the triumph of love over evil, the internal transformation made by Meg is one of self-acceptance. Ultimately, Meg’s faults combine with her strengths to save her family, and cause her to believe in her own capabilities. It’s a timeless story that applies to every generation.
The manner in which DuVernay tells Meg’s story, however, is incredible. Since the book’s author L’Engle wrote a fairly sparse book prose-wise- it leaves a lot of detail to the imagination. Director DuVernay literally ran with her own imagination, creating a beautiful, layered texture to the film that makes every moment both believable and fantastical. Some of my favorite aspects of the film:
- The tender moments that highlight familial love. Bring Kleenex.
- Every second of the full cast’s time on planet Uriel- what a magical sequence!
- Meg’s curly hair- as a mom of a curly girl, I love the decision to celebrate Meg’s natural hair
- The intentionally and perfectly diverse cast- from the main characters all the way down to the extras on the planet of Camazotz
- Oprah! Need I say more? She’s her best self in this film and it wouldn’t be the same without her.
- The soundtrack. I already preordered it- it’s so so good!
Expect A Wrinkle In Time to bring up some personal feelings about self-acceptance and love. Lean into those feelings- within everyone one of us lies the power to do better and be better. Engage in conversations with your friends, family, peers, coworkers and especially your kids about the times when you have struggled to accept your faults. Then- make a plan to accept your faults for the role they play in making you “you” and go out and “be a warrior” for love, light, and positivity.
Do Better, Be Better
I encourage you to share your own warrior stories with the hashtag #BeAWarrior- and definitely see A Wrinkle In Time, which opens in theaters this Friday March 9, 2018.
Parental note: A Wrinkle In Time is rated PG- there is nothing inappropriate in the movie- no swearing, no violence, etc. My personal opinion is that the movie is great for kids aged 12 and up, but make sure to read what Commonsense Media says about the movie when their review goes live on March 9.