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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages about finding and staying in the light, embracing your uniqueness, recognizing the importance of love, and being brave enough to be a warrior who fights the darkness, however it might manifest itself. Also promotes strong family bonds, trusting friendships, and empathy for those who are different from you. Courage, perseverance, and teamwork are themes. A couple of moments involving iffy parenting/responsibility decisions by Meg and Charles Wallace's dad.
Positive Role Models
Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which are inspiring, optimistic, generous, kind-hearted guides who help Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace find Dr. Murry and fight the darkness. They're wise, patient, and funny. Meg is brilliant, clever, beautiful, kind (one of the rare movies to portray a girl, particularly nonwhite girl, as lead character with science/math aptitude and extraordinary skills), but also insecure and sad. Calvin is brave, helpful, understanding; he encourages and supports Meg, likes her for more than superficial reasons. Meg's mother is brilliant, loving, empathetic. Meg's father is an ambitious genius and is selfless, though he does appear to choose his passion over his family in one respect, and he struggles with saving both of his children. Strong gender and racial/ethnic representation, with characters who are multicultural, African American, South Asian, and white/European.
Violence & Scariness
A girl slams a ball into a classmate's face after being provoked by cruel comments. Kids encounter dangerous/threatening situations in which they nearly plunge to their deaths, are whisked away in a twister, or are stuck for eternity. A frightening moment when three people are dragged to an evil overlord. A child is taken and somewhat possessed by darkness. The child, with darkness flowing through him, hurts his sister several times via telekinesis.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of marital kisses. Some flirting, hand-holding, and a cathartic hug between young teens.
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"Shut up," plus some bullying that involves cruel comments by a few teens.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that A Wrinkle in Time is director Ava DuVernay's adaptation of author Madeleine L'Engle's classic children's fantasy book. The tween-friendly movie follows brilliant 13-year-old Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her genius little brother, and her friend on an epic, perilous journey to find her long-missing father. They're guided on their dangerous voyage across time and space by three supernatural beings: Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). Like the book it's based on, the movie features some intense scenes of peril: Kids nearly plunge to their deaths, are whisked away in a twister, or are stuck for eternity, and there's a scary moment when three people are dragged to an evil overlord. But while the kids are bruised and knocked down, no one dies or is seriously injured, and the frightening moments are temporary. The movie, which is remarkably diverse, promotes positive messages about trusting in your abilities, asking for help, and believing in the power of love. Courage, perseverance, and teamwork are also themes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This big-hearted adaptation's payoff is more emotional than technical, but, thanks to touching performances, inclusive themes, and inspiring messages, it's easy to appreciate it. Meg is now a biracial middle schooler who's struggling to fit in at her school. Like many teens who feel out of place, she's a lonely misfit who suffers under the wrath of the popular girls, who enjoy tormenting her about her appearance, her interests, and even her father's disappearance. Reid's nuanced performance is lovely, and her vulnerability as Meg underscores the character's development from untrusting cynic to confident warrior. Meanwhile, all three of the actresses playing the Mesdames are obviously having fun in their gorgeous, vibrant costumes and imaginative personas. Kaling's Mrs. Who, who speaks in famous quotes, no longer pulls just from Western classics but also from OutKast, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rumi, and Buddha. Winfrey might as well be Mrs. Which, a wise and supernaturally beloved being who dispenses inspirational one-liners. And Witherspoon's Mrs. Whatsit adds levity to the mix as the flirty, jokey member of the trio. Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who plays Meg and Charles Wallace's mother) are also quite good.
That said, the movie does -- like Meg's experience with time-and-space travel -- have some distinctly bumpy patches. The pacing is uneven: The setup feels rushed, and, unlike Calvin and Meg's relationship in the books, their connection in the movie feels a bit like an "insta-crush" (although it's still sweet). And then there's the script, which includes some clunky exchanges (a couple between Calvin and Meg, as well as between Meg and her principal, plus several courtesy of Charles Wallace, who can be off-putting). Charles Wallace's giftedness turns into major creepiness in a possessed-child sequence that might be too scary for younger kids (and too campy and uncomfortable for adults). But all of these missteps don't take away from the fact Meg's coming-of-age story is a universal, relatable hero's journey that's likely to resonate with fans of kid heroes who discover they have the power to do the extraordinary.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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