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It was not a dark and stormy night. At least I don't think it was. It was summer when I first learn about the story of a girl that reached beyond herself, beyond time and space, in order to save her father. The story did not resonate much at first. It seemed a cute movie about a girl in an adventure, although I have to admit, I managed to tear up with the trailer every time I watched it. But I love Ava DuVernay, the director, and the actors in it, so I decided to watch it.
I read the book, written by Madeleine L'Engle, prior to watching the movie, because I like to be that person that reminds others of it. So the story really meant nothing to my childhood, unlike many others, yet I found my 23-year-old self wishing it had. The movie is a good adaptation, and while it may leave certain parts behind, as most adaptations do, it is able to keep most of the important parts.
It is a simple story: Meg Murry (played by Storm Reid) finds herself in an adventure as she tries to find her disappeared father (played by Chris Pine). She will have the help of her brother, Charles Wallace (the amazing Deric Mccabe) and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller), as well as the three Mrs (played Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, and Mindy Kaling). Visually, it is stunning, bright colors that transport the audience to different places, magical creatures, Reese Witherspoon looking like the last evolution of a grass type Pokémon, and beautiful hair, make-up, and costumes.
But I want to talk about Meg. When I was growing up, I was very insecure. To be completely honest, I still am. But I think that as children, things seem louder and brighter, and everything hurt more. I remember crying in changing rooms because I didn't look good on whatever I was trying, or it was too small. Or wearing shirts when I was playing with kids in hotel clubs during those hot summers near the Mediterranean sea. It is unfair for a kid to feel this way. So when I read the book and watched the movie, I couldn't help but tear up a bit (a lot, actually) because I saw a girl that was too hard on herself, that was stubborn and angry, that had a hard time letting people in.
My favorite part of the story comes close to the end when the Mrs can't help the heroes, so before they leave, Mrs. Whatsit gifts Meg with her faults. Throughout the story, Meg, and now I'm focusing on the movie, is vocal about her insecurities. When Calvin compliments her about her hair or her intelligence, Meg brushes it off and even tries to hide so nobody knows they are friends in order to protect Calvin from insults at school. It is not until the very end (kind of spoilers ahead), when Meg tries to save Charles Wallace, that she realizes that regardless everything bad she thinks about herself, she is worth being loved. Meg's faults are a part of herself, the same way her curiosity, and her unconditional love for others are. Her anger and pain are valid and only by herself she is able to move on and learn from them.
So I left the cinema happy and hopeful. Because somewhere, a kid is going to watch it and maybe start the process of healing. A kid is going to understand that their hair is beautiful naturally, that there are different types of intelligence, that they can be angry, that it takes time to let people in. That someday they will be able to tesser naturally. I feel hopeful because even thought Meg is the heroine I wish I had growing up, now a lot of kids will have her. So if you are wondering whether or not to watch this beautiful movie, go with an open heart and give it a chance. This is the heartfelt movie we all need. You won't regret it.