“A book, too, can be a star, ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,’ a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time
“What if we are here for a reason. What if we are part of something truly divine.” ~ Dr. Alex Murry, A Wrinkle in Time
What if a book/movie came into being that challenged our long held beliefs about who we really are? How would people feel about it? What would they think? Judging by the user reviews of the movie, A Wrinkle in Time, they’d hate it.
When I first read A Wrinkle in Time many years ago in the late 1980s, I loved it. That book was my introduction to the fantasy genre. I loved the blend of science and spirituality, the journey Meg takes from self-hatred to self-love. I could completely relate to her struggles because I to thought I was unlovable too. But one of my favorite segments in the book and the movie is when Meg gets a glimpse into the inner lives of three important people in her life, a girl who bullies her, her principal who does not understand her, and Calvin, the most popular boy at school. She gets to see that each one has a deep wound to deal with just like she does. That’s when she understands that we all need understanding and compassion.
Since the book was a Newberry Medal winner, I was completely surprised to discover that A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by publishers over thirty times. But then maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, because it’s a story that challenges the way we perceive how the universe works. There are many planes of existence of which we, only using our five senses, are completely unaware. And the idea that our minds and hearts are much more powerful than we have previously believed is a central part of the book. The darkness that exists is inside us and the only way it can be vanquished is to nurture light of love within.
Barry and I went to see the movie version on Easter Sunday. I thought it was the perfect movie for that holiday because to me, Easter is about redemption, forgiveness and love. But when I went to read the user reviews on Internet Movie Database, everyone gave the movie one star rating. The headers told how much they hated the movie. When I read one that said, “I want to gouge out the part of my brain that remembers this movie,” I was so surprised. The movies I wish I could forget are dark, hopeless, humanity is coming to an end type movies, not ones full of hope. Then a lot of recent movies with similar hopeful story lines came crashing into my head.
If self-reflection, healing, and self-love are such horrible topics for a movie, then how do we explain the huge money makers from the last couple of years? Some of them were Doctor Strange, Beauty and the Beast, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the biggest blockbuster of 2018 so far is Black Panther. Each one has a situation where darkness threatens to take over the planet or the universe and the solution to interrupt its progress is by finding inner balance and the strength of love. In the case of Doctor Strange, he’s willing to sacrifice himself to trap the dark entity it in a mindless time loop. Eventually the entity realizes the futility of doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result and gives into Doctor Strange’s terms.
Those movies were blockbusters because most of them are action pictures with lots of fighting, and explosions to distract the audience long enough to get the final message across, that it’s only through finding peace within, that we’ll create peace without. Each of the main characters comes to the conclusion that they must deal with their wounds before trying to save the world. Those are the kinds of stories that are most interesting to me.
So what makes A Wrinkle in Time different than the above mentioned movies? I mean the visual effects are stunning and the cast does a good job. Is it just because Oprah’s in it? My theory is that it doesn’t try to trick the audience in any way. We learn pretty early on that in order to save her father, Meg’s going to have to do some deep inner work. That’s a scary prospect for some of us and this may be why some people hated the movie so much. Most of us try to avoid feeling pain using lots of different methods, but as Meg learns, you’ve got to embrace it to lessen it’s power.
I’m convinced that A Wrinkle in Time is going to end up being a beloved classic movie, just like It’s a Wonderful Life is now. When It’s a Wonderful Life came out, it did not get a good reception. But what would Christmas be without Mister Potter and George Bailey? We love to watch George fight against his true calling until that fateful day when his life seems to be falling apart and he gets the chance to see what the world would have been like if he’d never been born. George discovers that the love and compassion he shared with the people of his community was desperately needed. His one seemingly insignificant life sent out so many ripples of hope. And in the end all the good he did comes back to him ten-fold.
The message of both movies is that love is stronger than hate. Dr. Murry tells Meg, “I wanted to touch the whole universe, when I should have kept ahold of your hand.” He got seduced by his curiosity and theories. But Meg’s decision to love herself allows her to save her father, her little brother, Charles Wallace and herself. That’s why I love both the movie and the book of A Wrinkle in Time.
Thanks for reading, liking and commenting.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. I you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.