A Wrinkle In Time: Representation Matters

Closeup of Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling in character from A Wrinkle In Time.

Here in Ireland we are still waiting for the release of Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time. I read the books many years ago, so I was not afraid to read and listen to reviews. NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour had some positive and insightful things to say (see the 9 March episode), not the least of which was that this is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a movie for kids. What that translates to is that there are not a lot of nods to the adults in the audience. No sly winks to cynicism, no “archness”, as they put it. It’s very earnest.

Early reviews from industry magazines about the film were less than flattering. But then, they were written by adults – and probably quite cynical adults, as often happens in entertainment. Also likely is that many of them don’t have a connection to the subject matter or family dynamics depicted. As I remember it, the books were written about a white family and featured primarily white characters. DuVernay and the writers changed that to be more inclusive, to represent a contemporary society, and to reflect the underrepresented reality of many families today. The main character, played by Storm Reid, was written as mixed (or biracial or multiracial; unsurprisingly there is controversy around these terms), with a father who is white and a mother who is a woman of colour. People of colour have long been calling for more frequent and positive representation in media; seeing characters who look like you makes a big difference in whether or not you feel part of society and feel supported in your aspirations. In short, representation matters.

Imagine my surprise when one of my most cynical friends posted a deeply heartfelt review of the film. Neil Lim Sang, animator and photographer of probably all the high profile metal bands in the business, is one of my favourite people. His Facebook posts frequently feature middle fingers, swearing, and imagery designed to offend conservative Christians. Yet – and don’t tell him I said this – he has a heart of gold.

One of the ways this manifests is in his work with Rock Out ALS, a charity designed to raise awareness of and funding for research into “ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease and MND (Motor Neuron Disease)”. They do this through engaging rock stars to promote the charity and donate unique items for auctions. Neil has a particular passion for this because his father died of the disease.

That’s Neil in the front. He grew up in Jamaica before moving to Canada with his parents and siblings. Neil is now married and his wife is white. With his permission, I’m posting his review.

I just got out of a [Visual Effects Society] screening of “A Wrinkle In Time” and I can say I was blown away.

I never read the books when I was younger because I am ignorant. Not a huge reader, so I didn’t know the story or what it was about.

I’ll be honest that the trailers didn’t do anything for me, and I had ZERO interest in seeing this film. I went by default as it was a film we secured, after all why not.

Not knowing a single thing about the movie I have to say I was sucked into the story. The casting is absolutely perfect, the young girl played by Storm Reid and her on screen brother Deric McCabe was fantastic. Deric was so good I just was mesmerized by this young actors performance. It was genuine and so natural. Oscar nom? For this kid he deserves one.

I think what got me is that I related to these kids immediately. The characters were you and I in middle or high school. Maybe more so that I lost my father when I was younger and going through so much. The bullying I got as a minority for the first time in a white culture that I had never experienced till moving to Canada. Whatever it was, I was so into the character development I related to them and was drawn into the story immediately.

The cinematography instantly grabbed my attention. The attention to details, the framing and composition was stunning. It was a character itself helping draw you into the real world they were in, before the film took you into the other world.

While I won’t get into it, I highly recommend you seeing this film with an open mind. Inspirational, empowering and just awesome I just couldn’t love it more. It is not just a kids film, but one for adults and parents. I would recommend you take your kids to see it though.

It was exactly what I needed when I didn’t realize I actually needed to see this movie. It was in essence the light in a very dark time in our world. The sentiments of the film reflected so much of that struggle today.

Also the fact that it is an interracial family, a female director of colour, and a powerful female lead cast shouldn’t matter. Shouldn’t even need to be expressed, but sadly in Hollywood equality is far from that. I am so happy it was done by who it was done by, and is such a great role model for young women and men.

Visually stunning. I was blown away at the sheer insanity of the VFX work and the massive scope of all the Worlds. There is just so much to see and comprehend and it was a beautiful palate of work. There were so many great scenes just reading the end scrall of credits were impossible. I did see my bro Rich who was the overall VFX Supe, and I had to text him to congratulate him on an incredible job, and to get his Oscar speech ready. It was that good to me. Nice work everyone. Be proud of this one.

The music was another great [component] of this that kept me engaged and didn’t just tug on the heartstrings it yanked them. I love me some SADE and I immediately could tell it was her the minute she sang.

I am not gonna lie… my allergies were on high. Must have been all the dust in the theatre, but I got very teary. I HATE these allergies linked to feelings. Sucks. Kick right in the feels. Ok fine. I cried. I admit it.

I’d recommend the 3D as it was beautiful. Loved it. I will see this again for sure in the theatre.

Support this film. It deserves to be seen and I hope it makes a shitload of money.


Remember this is my opinion… which in the grand scheme of life means nothing. You might not like this, and we can agree to disagree. I can’t force you to be right.

There are plenty of reviews out there and, as the release rolls out globally, there are bound to be more. But seeing my cynical, in-your-face, expletive spouting friend touched by a kids’ movie means much more to me than some white guy film critic whose job it is to dissect and criticise art. This is what it’s about. This is why representation matters.

Former VFX technician, prior Marine, feminist, geek. Sometimes travel blogger. Current MA student at University College Cork.

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