“Ultimately, DuVernay has done more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she has also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.”
There is really no doubt about it – Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a fantastic story; in equal parts it blends magic and science, fantasy and fear, and a persistent theme beneath it all of the many sorts and expressions of love. It’s a story that has appealed to literally millions of readers over the past five decades since its original publication, and continues to be enjoyed by millions more. Despite its controversial (and frequently-challenged) nature, the book clearly stands on its own as worthy literature, but recently, there’s been a shift…
Seeds of Change
Given the book’s controversy and incredible success, it was clear from early on that it was rife with possibilities. Numerous adaptations of the story have been made over time, including a 2003 Disney TV movie that was, well… pretty boring, but still kept up interest in the by-then classic.
Virtually all of these adaptations were as one might expect – plain, more or less true to the source imaginings of the story. All fine and dandy, but at some point the same old thing no longer advances the conversation, and that can make a story go stale (one of the worst things that can happen to a work of literature). Though nothing can take away the beauty of the words, it seems likely that A Wrinkle in Time was on its way to being irrelevant.
A Risk, and a Paradigm Shift
By even her own account, there was a lot of risk in Ava DuVernay taking on the role of director for the newest adaptation of L’Engle’s work. From the outset she needed to take on (from many sides) the misogynist doubt that a woman could direct a successful science fiction movie. Others considered it a strange departure from her previous work. No matter what she did, DuVernay was constantly taking risks in making this movie.
Rather than shying from that, however, she took in on, head-on. In one interview with her, DuVernay describes the moment she decided to make the film, when she was offered the chance to “build worlds”. What she did in fact was bigger though; DuVernay began a genuine paradigm shift.
More than Building Worlds
Ultimately, DuVernay did more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.
Normally, making a movie out of a book is risky business of its own. Even in our current era of remakes and reboots, there are many that are outraged at the adaptation of page to screen, arguing that it ruins, demeans, or debases the material. We at Collage are maybe not so militant, but we do generally agree that it’s always best to go to the source, at least first off.
In making A Wrinkle in Time into the modern film it is, however, DuVernay worked real magic, and on a global scale. Almost overnight, she transmuted a character forever into something more than she already was: she gave her real dimension. By making the main characters of the story biracial, Ava DuVernay added further depth to a character who was already deeply emotionally complex… but in a way that was utterly organic. In doing so, she imagined the family so artfully that, for millions or even billions of readers for at least the next several decades, that is who Murry family will be.
It is an epic accomplishment, and one that we feel is worth celebrating here at Collage Colorado.
What do you think about the book, or the movie? Let us know in the comments!
Own the Book or Film!
We absolutely love both the book and most recent film versions of A Wrinkle in Time, and we highly encourage you to read and watch them as well! Follow the links below to see both on Amazon.