Author Madeleine L’Engle wrote her science fiction novel A Wrinkle In Time between 1959 and 1960, when America began to wrestle with its inequalities on race, gender and class. When she completed the book about a young girl using science to fight evil, it was rejected by over 40 publishers for being “too different,” having a female protagonist in a science fiction book, uncommon for the time. However, it did eventually find a publisher and was released in 1962 winning several awards, including the Newbery Medal. Coincidentally, in that same year The Feminine Mystique was published, capturing the frustration of college-educated housewives who felt unsatisfied with the societal confines of their gender and helped usher in the second wave of American feminism. Wrinkle proved to be right on time.
Almost 60 years later, the film adaptation and its themes of children fighting against the darkness couldn’t be more timely. For years children around the United States have been fighting for everything from clean drinking water to gun safety in their neighborhoods and schools. It is against this backdrop that Wrinkle’s message to “Be a Warrior” rings relevant and true.
“Yeah, I mean it’s interesting, Selma came out right during the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement. 13th came out looking at criminal justice systems, right as we were talking about that in the elections and the ascendancy of [Donald] Trump. And Wrinkle in Time is coming out right at the time where kids of all kinds are asserting their voices around safety in schools,” says Wrinkle's director, Ava DuVernay. “You know, Black kids have been asserting this for many, many years, but in this moment it’s taken a national kind of prominence in the news because of tragic events. So it seems like the work meeting a moment that is timely is just a blessing that it continues to happen in the things that I’m creating.”
Co-star Oprah Winfrey adds that when she thinks of the “darkness” in the film, simply referred to as “The IT,” she is not thinking of a boogey man from the 1960s.
“Every time I actually refer to the ‘IT’ or spoke of the ‘IT,’ I was thinking literally of flipping through the channels… when I’m talking about the darkness spreading, I’m thinking about what’s going on in Syria and what’s going on in other parts of the world, and what’s happening in our country and the divisiveness, the darkness is spreading so fast these days.”
The news headlines are reflecting the spread of fascism globally, unprecedented corruption in government elections and indifference to the suffering of the citizenry. While students have always played a strong role in protest movements, it feels like they are finally gaining a national platform.
“The younger generation have something to teach us, the parent generation. [They have] a light, an energy and a truth to guide us. So, yeah, it’s incredibly relevant for today,” says Gugu Mbatha-Raw, whose sentiments are echoed by her co-star Chris Pine. “The NRA is talking about hardening schools and hardening teachers. Do we want to harden the place where our children are learning? So I think [the] idea of being a warrior means strength and the power to stand up and to speak your voice and speak your mind, without losing the wonderful softness and vulnerability that makes us exquisitely human.”
Watch the full video above.
(Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney)