Meg Murry (Katie Stuart) is a young girl from an unusual family. He father, Dr. Jack Murry (Chris Potter) is an astrophysicist who mysteriously disappeared over a year ago. Her mother Dr. Dana Murry (Sarah-Jane Redmond) has been taking care of the family since. Meg as two ten year old brothers who are your basic twins and a third brother, Charles Wallace (David Dorfman), who is rather unique. Charles Wallace is a genius but doesn’t talk to anyone outside the family. Meg has the usual growing pains of a young girl as well as feeling protective of her brother Charles Wallace. Just recently, the only other person Charles Wallace will talk to is Calvin O’Keefe (Gregory Smith).
One night a strange woman shows up at the Murry residence. She says her name is Mrs. Whatsit (Alfre Woodard). Later Mrs. Whatsit calls Meg, Charles Wallace along with Calvin and tells them that their father needs them. Mrs. Whatsit takes them via a tesseract or gateway to another planet and introduces them to Mrs. Who (Alison Elliott). Mrs. Whatsit then changes into a winged horse-like creature and flies them to meet Mrs. Which (Kate Nelligan). The three women try to prepare the children for their mission to rescue their father. They are told about a darkness that is taking over. It is an evil referred to as IT that takes over people and renders them powerless. IT imprisons them by taking away their will and compassion. Their father is somewhere behind that darkness.
Meg and Charles Wallace are told that their father is on a planet called Camazotz. He stumbled upon the tesseract and ended up captured by IT. The children go to Camazotz to rescue their father. They find Mr. Murry but in the process Charles Wallace is seduced by the IT through IT’s agent “The Man with the Red Eyes” (Kyle Secor). Mr. Murry manages to escape with Meg and Calvin but Charles Wallace is left behind. Now Meg is the only one that has any chance of saving Charles Wallace from IT and The Man with the Red Eyes.
“A Wrinkle in Time” was released in 2003 and was directed by John Kent Harrison. It is based on the book by Madeleine L’Engle. It is a fantasy film that was initially to be done as a four hour television miniseries. It was later cut down to a three hour film. It is a Canadian U.S. production.
Most fans of the book will probably hate the movie. Since most of them have read it, perhaps even many times, as children their imagination created and colored a picture of the characters and scenes. And I’m sure no two pictures are the same. What you see on the screen is not going to match what you expected to see. Also, as in most movies taken from books, many scenes were cut from the film due to time issues. Having never read the book I watched the movie with no preconceived notions. What I saw was a sweet children’s story with some charming characters and some rather good special effects for a television special.
Mrs. Whatsit explains the meaning of a tesseract as follows: we understand space to be three dimensional and time as the fourth dimension. The tesseract represents the fifth dimensional bridge or portal between two points in time and space. In other words a “wrinkle in time”, which would also be a wrinkle in space, is the folding of the fabric of space to connect two points together. This is similar to the Einstein-Rosen Bridge or a wormhole that allows the characters of the book to travel through spacetime. Although L’Engle’s interpretation is far from plausible her ideas do have scientific roots. This concept is part of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Using L’Engle’s theory of the bending of the fabric of time Mrs. Whatsit relates that a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.
The book “A Wrinkle in Time” has faced much controversy. It has been one of the most banned books in many places for several reasons; however, the most prominent one is due to religious objections. Conservative Christians had issues with the mixing of science and religion. L’Engle used a lot of religious elements and ideas in the book that many Christians saw as unorthodox. They called it “A vision of Christianity as a form of science, and the science as a form of the search for spirituality.” Apparently that’s a big non-no in their book. At the time the idea that science and religion could co-exist wasn’t a concept that was readily accepted. Since then even the Pope stated that scientific concepts such as evolution and climate change are not at odds with Christianity.
There were also issues with some of the characters in the book. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which were looked at as akin to witches or witchcraft and the Happy Medium represented the occult. This was heresy in some people’s eyes.
If you ask the book’s long time fans they will tell you it was their all time favorite and cherished book. In 2018 the book was again brought to the big screen. The reception was similar to that of the 2003 film. Most people who loved the book hated the movie.