Warriors of Light (A Wrinkle in Time)

I’ll be honest, I have mixed feelings about this movie. I'm all about the theme of light and dark and the concept of the power of love in the main narrative. The book it is based on is one of my favorite books. The book is imaginative yet not super descriptive, so I was excited to see what the movie could accomplish visually. The movie was gorgeous and the visual effects were what the book would call for. The costumes were absolutely stunning and Storm Reid’s acting was on point! The movie took creative license in some really wonderful ways and then in some really disappointing ways. I’m not going to get into comparing the book and movie, because that’s not the point. All I will say is that I feel like the movie could have done more justice to the book's main concept, the inner battle of accepting oneself. The core of the concept is there but certain aspects were subtly conveyed and I think because of that some people may not fully get all that this story has to offer (at least upon viewing it once). Furthermore, by excluding the Christian elements that were present in the book the movie presents a shaky "feel good" message rather than an inspirational truth. Ok, book-movie comparison over, let's get to it.

So what is going on in this movie? Dr. Alex Murray, a brilliant physicist, disappeared 4 years ago. His kids, Meg, who is a self-conscious loner teen, and Charles Wallace, who extremely wise for a 5-year-old, along with the popular guy from Meg's class, Calvin, go and search for him. The three children are called to the adventure by three celestial beings known as the Misses. Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which help the children travel through space and time as they follow Dr. Murray’s trail. They travel using a tesseract, which utilizes a frequency tapped into by love. They discover that their dad is on a planet called Camazotz, which is home to the IT.

The IT is a mysterious dark force in the universe. IT’s home may be Camazotz but it reaches all across the universe, even to here on Earth. The IT elicits feelings such as jealousy, shame, despair, and judgmentalism. This evil force is obviously analogous to Satan from the Bible. He is described as the father of lies and a murderer. (John 8:44) Satan’s main tactic is to make us believe lies that beget jealousy, shame, despair and then strife with others through judgement. All these things lead to fear then to rage and then violence. That is Satan’s goal. “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy..” (John 10:10) Just as the characters in the story face evil, so do we. The Misses show the children that much is at stake and they must find Dr. Murray because they are in need of warriors to fight the IT.

The Misses’ role is mainly to guide the children on their journey. But it can also be extrapolated that they represent a triune God figure in the story. [1] They act collectively as one guiding force, akin to God. The most interesting thematic element is that the Misses are essentially beings of light. You have this evil force portrayed as darkness and its opposing force is that of light. The theme of light and dark is prevalent in the Bible. God is equated to light hundreds of times in the Bible. (Read my previous blog on this theme) In one verse, His word is likened to a light which lights our path (Psalm 119:105). So you have these light beings guiding the children on their journey. However, since they are light and can only travel to where there is light, they cannot take the children to Camazotz because it’s all darkness. Again, an interesting parallel to “God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5) The Misses try to tesser the children back to Earth but Meg’s willpower (out of the love she has for her missing father) redirects the tesser and the children end up on Camazotz, without the Misses.

The children are now stranded on Camazotz. The Misses appear as a faint vision to give the children final instructions for their journey. The oddest advice comes from Mrs. Whatsit as she says to Meg, “I give you the gift of your faults.” Throughout the movie, we see Meg struggle with self-esteem, so this seems more of a pointed insult than a gift. However, this is an important element in the narrative. Meg struggles to accept herself. We see her as a quirky outcast who gets bullied at school by the popular “pretty” girls. Meg sees her faults as the bad things about her. I have a feeling we all can relate to Meg. There are aspects about who we are that we dislike and wish we could change. Maybe like Meg and her unruly hair, it’s your physical appearance. Or how Meg wishes she wasn’t so clumsy, you’re frustrated you aren’t better at some skill or another. Here’s the thing: these “faults” or disliked aspects about ourselves aren’t bad or something that needs to be fixed. They are a part of who we are and who we were made to be, and to accept ourselves, we must accept all aspects of ourselves. Now it’s important to point out that these aspects are traits or personal quirks. Certain characteristics or attitudes, like being an arrogant jerk or hating people who have a different skin color than you, are not aspects of ourselves that simply need to be accepted. How you are made and function in this world is different than what you do and how you act towards others. I’d actually label character flaws as sin, which I’ll address later.

Calvin plays an important role in Meg’s self acceptance battle. On a surface level, it may appear that Calvin’s role has no effect within the narrative. He mainly just follows Meg and Charles Wallace around because he obviously has a crush on Meg. However, if we look closer, we see that Calvin acts as a mirror reflecting back Meg’s “faults” as worthy of acceptance. He compliments her on things she dislikes about herself, like her hair or her nerdy physics knowledge, showing her that those aspects of herself can be appreciated and loved. He is there to speak truth and encouragement. Not that we need other people in order to love ourselves; it’s just a benefit and reason for relationships: to battle the lies we believe when we are too weak to. However, this point does hit the root of a deeper truth.

I’d argue that for any one of us to truly love and accept ourselves fully, we must first know the true source of love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) Who knows ourselves better than we do besides the One who made us? Who knew us before we were born and knitted us together in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13-16) If God in all of His perfection and holiness can love us so deeply, then who are we (as imperfect beings) to deny that love? Ultimately, when we don’t love ourselves, we are saying we know better than God. Choosing our way instead of God’s way is rebellion and thus sin. By accepting God’s way (His love for us) we in turn can truly accept ourselves.

We see this self acceptance played out in the final act. While on Camazotz, the IT kidnaps Charles Wallace and mind melds with him. Meg and Calvin chase after him and end up in a seemingly empty white room. Folded inside the fractal dimensions of the room is a hidden cell where Meg finally finds her father. After finding Dr. Murray, Charles Wallace tries to take all of them to the IT but Dr. Murray tessers back to earth with Calvin. Meg gets left behind by her own will to stay with Charles Wallace. She ends up in the massive brain of the IT trying to free Charles Wallace from the connection to the IT. Upon reminding Charles Wallace that he loves her, she realizes that he loves her faults included. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Accepting this love and embracing who she is, Meg yells to Charles Wallace, “you love me and I love you. I love you! I love you!” Love embraced is love extended. Meg’s ability to fully accept herself by accepting the love of others gives her the power to truly love Charles Wallace. This true love breaks the bond between Charles Wallace and the IT. “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection.” (Romans 12:9-10) That which is evil is powerless against love. To quote Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

Once the IT is defeated by the light of Meg and Charles Wallace’s love, the Misses reappear. We are led to think that Dr. Murray was the warrior that the Misses were searching for, when really Meg is the one who becomes the warrior that they find. Mrs. Which states that warriors are “those who face their darkness and bring the best of themselves to the light.” To be a warrior of light, we must not only accept our faults, but also confess (or bring forth) our sins. Rooting out darkness in ourselves is not something we can do on our own. Only the true source of light can overcome darkness. ‘When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.“‘ (John 8:12) As feel good as the “love yourself” message can be, it’s honestly faulty when it lacks a firm foundation. Author Jon Bloom writes, “If you are true to yourself, and your self is not anchored in Christ, your self will destroy you.” It’s imperative we not lose sight of the true source of light and love. To be warriors fit for battle, we need the power of Christ. Otherwise we will be too weak. ‘And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) May that be our war cry against the present darkness of the world and within ourselves, that we boast and claim the power of Christ!

“Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
(Ephesians 6:11-13)

As always, thanks for reading 💓

[1] An argument could be made that certain Mrs represent the different aspects of God (the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) but that’s probably besides the point and it doesn’t matter whether they are an exact representation.