Now that you’ve gotten my in-depth analysis of A Wrinkle in Time, what does the actual, intended audience think? Welcome Deede Bergeron’s review!
I am a teacher. I purposely put on the lens of how this would be seen through a child’s eyes who may not have been exposed to the book yet. And just by chance, I sat next to a current student in the movie theater (age 7) and was able to observe and ask her opinion. I went to a 2D showing during a time of day when the theater was predominantly families, and many, many, many, little girls.
For those who loved it as a child: The essence of the story and the heart of the message where all there. The wrapping- setting, some characters, etc- were quite different from the original book. So, if you are someone who cannot enjoy a movie that differs from the source novel, you will not like this. But if you care about the message and are ok if there are changes made for that message to come out, you will like it.
For those who didn’t read it, or don’t remember it well: This movie was fully geared to elementary and middle school aged children. It is a Disney film, not a Marvel film. The primary intended audience is not adults, and it does not engage in any of the ironic humor or sly references we have come to expect in many modern movies. The storyline, characters, pacing, etc were designed to be thoughtful and connect with children. I think maybe the marketers were off target in not making that clearer.
I found the messages to children so beautiful and so important. The storyline felt less intense than I remembered, but did not seem to be so to the children around me. So maybe my adult memory has translated material that felt intense as a child into something that would be intense now.Across the board, the children I know who have seen it loved it. The student next to me was begging her mom to get the book, and was excitedly sharing her favorite scenes. Her mom told me that a particular scene (wherein a caring adult tells a troubled young girl with low self esteem that she is perfect as she is and does so in a way that is believable and not cliched) made her weepy. (Me too! That exact moment!) She felt that there were so many positive messages for her daughter and was really happy they saw it together. Friends and colleagues who took children have universally been positive so far as I have heard from them. At the end of the film, children and adults in the theater spontaneously applauded.
I would like to point out as well, the publishers and critics hated the story when it was written. Madeleine L’Engle has chronicled her 10 years of failure when this story was rejected over and over by publishers who thought the story was odd and didn’t think children would like it and didn’t understand it as adults. But children understood, and they are who matter here.
Don’t miss the magic of this film and story because you want it to be something it was never intended to be. And please notice the faces of 7-12 year old girls as they watch this film. This film is for them, and it is a gift.
Deede Bergeron is a lifelong voracious reader, a 34 year educator, and met Madeline L’Engle in person!
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Image courtesy of Disney 2018.