A Wrinkle in Time is ticking with black girl magic. From the onset of the journey, with Duvernay’s use of vivid colors and contrasts to the ending where Meg rises as the heroine. As we know, in the making of a Disney movie, one must allow their imagination to be as expansive as Mr. Disney himself. Because Duvernay comes from the colorful sisterhood of black girl magic, I was prepared for her to resurrect any portion of the book that may have been a bit dreary to keep us as the audience engaged. I was not disappointed.
While watching this movie, I had to remember what it was like to be a little girl, unsure of myself, suspicious of the world around me, and wanting to be anyone but myself. As an adult, I wanted more story. I wanted us to dive deeper into that aspect of our heroine, Megalyn “Meg” Murray. You cannot view this movie and not have some moment of recollection of what it is like to be child thrust into adult problems and situations while trying to be your own self.
As Meg both grows into and reconciles with self, we see her evolve from angsty and distrustful, to confident. The confidence she finds goes beyond the trope that we find in other Disney movies, the process of immense self-discovery or pain that this protagonist experiences is both literally and figuratively in a different realm. We see Meg fighting to remember who she was before, and what is that makes her who she is. Even one of the guardians in the movie, Mrs. Whatsit, tells Meg as she starts the last leg of her journey, “I give you the gift of your faults.” Meg appears to not understand this, as realistically, we may all struggle to understand this at times.
As a woman of color, what resonated with me the most is the need Megalyn had to be accepted and reached on the same level that she was on. There was no white all-good, all-seeing, Glenda the Good Witch of the North trope to come and tell her she could go home at any time just by clicking her heels together. She had boundaries and expectations that had been set by her mother, Dr. Murray (A NASA scientist like her father). Then from Mrs. Which (Oprah), she got the benefit of wisdom and self-worth.
All these things are components of love—the same element of the universe constructed within A Wrinkle in Time, which allowed her to develop the ability to teleport, or as the film calls it, tessel. It is these elements or frequencies of love that allowed Meg to not become her perfect self, as the IT showed her, but learn to embrace who she was instead. As a little girl, this knowledge is paramount and it exposes a vulnerability most black girls are not given on screen. A Wrinkle In Time is a film every little girl must see, so they too, may know they are not alone in the world—or when they look in a mirror and their gifts of faults, self and guardians will guide them.
Jennifer P. Harris | Write to Live Team