Why I Will Not Go See A Wrinkle In Time
Updated: Oct 10, 2018
After everyone came down from the high of seeing and fully engaging with Black Panther, I began to see posts on Facebook about how people, particularly black people, need to throw their support behind Ava Duvernay's A Wrinkle in Time. I fully understand why supporting Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time is important. There's a lot at stake with the outcome of these two movies; Black Panther being the first black Marvel superhero movie, directed by a black man, and all black cast, with a budget of $200 million. Directing A Wrinkle In Time has made Duvernay the first black female director to helm a movie with a budget of $100 million. Duvernay has also made it a point to showcase a diverse cast with Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon. If these movies fail what does that mean for representation in Hollywood behind and in front of the camera? I fully know the stakes and I went to go see Black Panther...twice and one of those showings I paid full price. However I have absolutely no desire to see A Wrinkle in Time and don't feel as though I or other black people should be pressured to support this film.
The plot line for A Wrinkle of Time doesn't particularly attract me. In an interview with The New York Times, Duvernay described A Wrinkle in Time as being a very difficult book to adapt. It's a story about a girl skipping across galaxies with her little brother and friend to face a dark force and save her father. Duvernay said that the intended audience is for 8-12 year olds. I enjoy a Pixar movie here and there, but this movie doesn't feel like one where I would pay $16.50 for, especially if I don't have a younger cousin with me. Not all movies made by black directors with a diverse cast will always appeal to me; I'm not the only black person who hates Tyler Perry movies. Moonlight was a movie directed by a black man that featured an all-black cast; I went to go see Moonlight but I didn't see the petitions for other black people to go see the movie. People tend to forget that black people aren't a homogenous group and that yes it's great to be able to see yourself on screen, but that doesn't mean you will be authentically represented or relate to the story. Therefore, black people shouldn't have to be pressured to throw their dollars behind a movie that they may not even enjoy.
Even though I don't have an interest in seeing A Wrinkle In Time, I still think it’s an important movie. Duvernay race-bended the whole cast of A Wrinkle in Time; the lead character Meg who is played by biracial actor Reid, was originally written as a white girl. Mrs. Which and Mrs. Who played by Winfrey and Kaling respectfully, although weren't given racial descriptors, were probably assumed to be white but were cast by women of color. The genre of movie itself is really important; sci-fi and black culture have never really been associated with each other. But just as Shuri was an important visible portrayal of women in STEM, Meg will be pivotal in black girl collective interest in the sci-fi genre. For the representation of black narratives and especially the representation women of color, I'd say A Wrinkle In Time and Black Panther are equally important, but for some reason only black people have the responsibility of supporting these movies. Shouldn't white, Asian, and black women ban together to support A Wrinkle In Time seeing as how all those races of women are represented in that movie? Why is it only black people who have to support these films? Why are we letting everyone else off the hook? Shouldn't white, Asian, and black women ban together to support A Wrinkle In Time seeing as how all those races of women are represented in that movie?
I understand why there is pressure to support these films. The issue with representation in the entertainment industry and across all fields is this expectation that we have to continuously earn our seats at the table; our positions are never secure. We know the age old saying, "a black person has to work 10 times harder and be 10 times smarter than their white peers to be successful." In the terms of Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, if Black Panther succeeds and A Wrinkle In Time was to fail, Black Panther's success would then become the exception of diversity in Hollywood and not the rule. Industry executives would be hesitant to hand over large budgets to directors of color or have diverse casts.
However, representation should always be the rule and never the exception. Marginalized groups should be seen and heard regardless of their failures and successes. A Wrinkle in Time should be allowed to succeed or fail regardless of whether or not it is helmed by a black or white director. The risk in making a movie like A Wrinkle in Time or Black Panther shouldn't be based on the diverse casts; it should be measured on the scripts, editing, or the actors’ performances. If Martin Scorsese made a movie that flopped, I'm sure production companies wouldn't hesitate to hand over another $100 million movie to him.
At the 2018 Oscars, in a pre-taped package on diversity in Hollywood, actor Kumail Nanjiani spoke about how some of his favorite movies growing up were made by straight white dudes for straight white dudes and he found a way to relate. Now straight white dudes can enjoy movies by a Pakistani immigrant and relate to it, "I've been doing it my whole life, it’s not that hard," Nanjiani remarked. Black people shouldn't feel the pressure to go see movies directed by and starring black people, rather we should challenge those who don't see themselves in those "black" movies to watch and empathize. Studios should continuously support diverse stories even if they fail, only then will representation truly matter.