A Wrinkle in Time is a gloriously bright, fun quest in which three children go looking for two of their father and end up becoming part of the unending fight against real evil. While many reviews have claimed that this movie is incomprehensible, not faithful to the book, or filled with unrelatable, unlikable characters, upon actually watching this film (as someone who was a huge fan of the books as a child), I found none of these things to be true. In fact, this movie is a wonderful, entertaining adaptation that had me crying at several points.
I sympathized with and adored Meg, I laughed with Calvin, and I feared for Charles Wallace. Mr. Murray’s relationship with his wife is deep and touching, and we can see the depth of their love for each other and for their children. This movie is a beautiful offering to young women, particularly young black women, as well as the smart young men who get erased from media too often in favor of stereotypically aggressive forms of masculinity. I walked out of the theatre feeling energized and moved, and hoping, (intensely) that the studio gets on board with making A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet to follow up.
Spoilers below the cut!
Oh sure you may know me as Cassie Nova, lover and admirer of women everywhere (although my heart belongs to one in particular); yet whenever the Yuletide season rolls around, I morph magically into the Ghost of Christmas Pissed.
This time of year, we’re inundated with holiday classic films like Home Alone and A Christmas Story as well as a plethora of made-for-TV (and now Netflix) selections. In fact, the Hallmark Channel has become so successful with its Christmas marketing campaing and its 21 Christmas films this year that other networks like Lifetime and Ion are trying to catch up. Of course they would, as Hallmark makes 30% or more of its ad revenue during the Christmas season alone. However, the problem, even if Fox News (as usual) seems obtuse about it is that Hallmark-style movies (Brad Jones, the Cinema Snob, pointed out that its become its own shorthand for small budget WASP cis-heterosexual Christmas films despite the network it appears on) exclude most of the population and, at worst, want us to regress back to the 1960s. At best, even the knock offs on Netflix, like the famous A Christmas Prince, only bring us up to about 1995 with represenation. This has to change.
This weekend, I appeared on a panel at The Baltimore Book Festival with other diverse writers about our experiences in publishing and what we wished other potential writers knew before trying to write diversely or, sometimes, about characters out of their normal realm of experience. Here are a few reflections on that below.
Last week has resulted in an even more intense discussion of the need for diverse books than usual. Between Handbook for Mortals attempting to scam the New York Times bestseller list and displacing, however briefuly, Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give from #1 and bumping Nicola Yoon’s Everything Everything off the list, the Linda Howard debacle over diversity in the Romance Writers of America (RWA), and an indignant sci-fi author on Twitter, Jon Del Arroz, arguing that trade publishing agents are only seeking LGBT+ books, we need to talk. The publishing industry is not a zero-sum games, and diverse authors are not stealing from “more mainstream” or so-called “more traditional” writers.