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Mar9FriA Wrinkle in Time is a galaxy-spanning tale about the battle between good and evil. March 9, 2018 by Giselle Randall
On a dark and stormy night, Meg Murry, her little brother, Charles Wallace, and their mother, Mrs. Murry, are drinking cocoa in their farmhouse kitchen when a mysterious visitor appears at the door.
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“Mrs. Whatsit, what are you doing here?” asks Charles Wallace.
“I got caught in a downdraft and blown off course,” replies the old woman, as she unwraps her numerous scarves and pours water out of her rubber boots. “Wild nights are my glory.” She turns to Mrs. Murry. “By the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”
So begins A Wrinkle in Time—the story of Meg’s quest to find her father, a renowned physicist who had been experimenting with the fifth dimension when he disappeared several years before. Three otherworldly beings—Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which—guide Meg, Charles Wallace and their friend, Calvin, as they travel across the universe to rescue him from a dark planet.
Now in theatres, A Wrinkle in Time is a galaxy-spanning tale about the battle between good and evil and the transforming power of love.
The Spread of Evil
The movie is based on the classic fantasy novel by Madeleine L’Engle, part of a series called the Time Quintet. L’Engle’s writing was deeply shaped by her Christian faith. “It was the scientists, with their questions, their awed rapture at the glory of the created universe, who helped to convert me,” she writes in Walking on Water, her reflections on faith and art. “The fantasies are my theology.”
Meg (Storm Reid) feels like an oddball in her extraordinary family. Her parents are both brilliant scientists, and Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) is something more—he seems to know what she’s feeling and thinking. She misses her father (Chris Pine) terribly, and must endure rumours about his disappearance. All Meg wants is for him to come home.
Then Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) appear. They use a tesseract—a wrinkle in time and space—to take Meg, Calvin (Levi Miller) and Charles Wallace on a journey through the cosmos. There is more at stake than Mr. Murry’s disappearance. On a mountain peak on the planet Uriel, Mrs. Whatsit shows them a dark and dreadful shadow blocking out the light of the stars. The shadow is evil, and it is spreading.
“All in All”
But although the Dark Thing threatens everything, it is also being fought. Earth, although shadowed, has not been overcome.
“All through the universe it’s being fought, all through the cosmos, and my, but it’s a grand and exciting battle,” says Mrs. Whatsit. “Some of our very best fighters have come right from your own planet, and it’s a little planet, dears, out on the edge of a little galaxy. You can be proud that it’s done so well.”
When Calvin asks who Earth’s fighters have been, Mrs. Who replies, “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”—a Bible verse from John 1 describing Jesus.
“There were others,” Mrs. Whatsit adds. “All your great artists. They’ve been lights for us to see by.”
L’Engle’s work has been criticized—in fact, frequently banned—by some Christians, who fear she is denying Jesus’ divinity. She responded to this claim in Walking on Water. “I don’t mean to water down my Christianity into a vague kind of universalism, with Buddha and Mohammed all being more or less equal to Jesus—not at all!” she writes. “But neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where He can and cannot be seen.
“To be truly Christian means to see Christ everywhere, to know Him as all in all.”
The Power of Love
Meg’s father is on Camazotz, a planet that has given in to the darkness, where he is being held captive at Central Intelligence. As Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace search the city and finally come face to face with IT, the evil power controlling the planet, they struggle not to succumb to IT’s mesmerizing influence. Meg’s anger and stubbornness help her resist, but Charles Wallace comes under IT’s control.
After recovering from injuries inflicted by the Black Thing, Meg comes to realize that she’s the one who must rescue her brother, even though she’s weak and afraid. “The weakness of God is stronger than men … God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,” Mrs. Who reminds her.
“You have something that IT has not,” adds Mrs. Which.
Meg returns to Charles Wallace, where she discovers the only weapon that has ever defeated the powers of darkness: love—irrational, self-sacrificial love, the kind of love that Jesus demonstrated on the cross.
As an artist, L’Engle wrestles with theological issues—the nature of evil, the significance of free will, the difference between faith and certainty, the importance of Christian community—through story. A Wrinkle in Time shows us a universe marred by sin, and yet there is hope.
“In a sense, A Wrinkle in Time was … my affirmation of a universe in which I could take note of all the evil and unfairness and horror and yet believe in a loving Creator,” she writes.
Meg went to a distant galaxy to rescue her father, but we can all participate in God’s rescue mission. We can all be fighters in the grand and exciting battle, and reflect the light that shines in the darkness.