A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay is a badass. Described by Wired as a “creator of worlds”, she is the first African American woman to helm a $100 million movie (and for Disney, no less). When she took on the project, DuVernay promised a new vision of the original text, a “remix”, as she put it in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
The casting makes it very clear that she intends to deliver on that promise. In the original, Meg, the main character, is a white kid from Connecticut; now, she’s an African American from South Central LA who comes from an interracial family. Chris Pine rightly commented on how cool it is that the latter fact is never mentioned in the film.
Fifty-six years ago, when Madeline L’Engle first debuted the original text, a science-fiction novel that many of us read in school, it defied skeptics by placing both a young girl and quantum physics at the center of the story.
Played by 14-year-old Storm Reid in her first major role, Meg is a young high school student whose astrophysicist father (Chris Pine) recently disappeared on a mission. Three “peculiar beings” – Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which – send Meg, her brother and her friend into space to find him and save him from a terrible evil. These three celestial beings or astral travelers are played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey respectively.
The movie’s unique soundtrack features original tracks from an impressive line-up of artists, including Sade, DJ Khaled, Sia, Kehlani, Grown-ish stars Chloe x Halle, and FreeStyle Fellowship. And the original score was put together by Game of Thrones and Westworld composer Ramin Djawadi. Sade’s track is the musician’s first track in almost eight years.
This is the version of A Wrinkle in Time that Hollywood needs right now. We shouldn’t be sandwiching people of color into movies to satisfy quotas. It shouldn’t be a thing that needs celebrating because it should just be normal.
Despite its reputation as a masculine arena full of over-sexualized women and dangerous stereotypes, science-fiction has long been a space that champions diversity and explores themes that others are too afraid to touch. It has the potential to challenge norms and fight back against almost invisible but all too effective systemic oppression in our society.
DuVernay uses her platform to present an inclusive worldview that reflects the diversity of modern society, while envisioning a world in which that diversity is both celebrated and normalized. And did I mention that Oprah’s in the movie? Because if you needed another reason to go and see it, I’m sure that should be enough.
The movie releases in the USA on March 9. For all other release dates check out IMDB.