Australian Council on Children and the Media

A Wrinkle in Time

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Short takes

Not recommended under 10; PG to 13 (Scary scenes, fantasy themes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for A Wrinkle in Time
  • a review of A Wrinkle in Time completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 April 2018.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not recommended
Children 10 - 13 Parental Guidance recommended
Children 13+ OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: A Wrinkle in Time
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild fantasy themes and a sense of peril
Length 109 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Thirteen-year old Meg Murray (Storm Reid) has found it increasingly difficult to adjust to life without her father. Dr Alex Murray (Chris Pine), a brilliant scientist, disappeared without a trace while working on a theory allowing people to 'tesseract' or travel simply by using a specific frequency and the power of their minds. Unable to bear the separation any longer, Meg, along with her genius little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and classmate Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller), sets out to find her dad. The children are aided by three supernatural beings: Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey); Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs Who (Mindy Kahling) who help protect the universe from the darkness fighting to take over. Their quest to find Dr Murray takes them to places they had never imagined, forces them to develop capacities and strengths they didn’t know they had and places them on a planet that possesses all the evil in the universe. Together they must face the darkness, the unknown and their worst fears. Ultimately they discover that the power to bring Dr Murray home has been within their grasp the whole time.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Children separated from a parent; bullying.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Meg slams a ball into a classmate’s face after being insulted by very hurtful comments.
  • While possessed by ‘The It’, Charles Wallace uses powers of telekinesis to thrash Meg about.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Mrs Whatsit shapeshifts into a large, green, flying creature.
  • The children repeatedly encounter ‘The It’. This sometimes manifests itself as a black, creepy, mass of pure evil.
  • Calvin and Meg are separated from Charles Wallace when an evil forest springs up around them. The music is extremely loud and dramatic and the scene is both intense and suspenseful.
  • A man, who appears to be friendly, encourages the children to eat. It turns out that they are merely eating sand and the man disappears with Charles Wallace, leaving a frantic Meg to try and follow him. The man later comes apart marionette style and shows them his red, glowing, eyes.
  • Charles Wallace is possessed by ‘The It’ and tries to kill Meg. Fire and cracks show through his skin.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Calvin nearly plunges to his death after encountering ‘The It’.
  • Audiences are shown an image of Calvin’s father standing over him in a rage telling him how his best is not good enough. It is scary and intimidating.
  • Calvin and Meg must run for their lives, dodging exploding piles of dirt and eventually use the force of a tornado to launch themselves over a cliff while hiding in a tree trunk.
  • The children find themselves in a cul-de-sac where one child from each house is outside bouncing a ball in perfect synchronization. The scene is almost robotic and is extremely creepy.
  • Meg, Calvin and Dr Murray are dragged along to see ‘The It’. Dr Murray claws at the ground in a desperate fight to avoid being taken. He is terrified but Meg refuses to leave Charles Wallace behind. Her father tries to tesseract and bring her home fearing that his son has already been claimed by evil. Dr. Murray and Calvin disappear and Meg is left to face ‘The It’ alone.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

  • Some children in this age group could be frightened by the above mentioned scenes. Aside from the above mentioned scenes however, there is nothing additional in the film that would frighten children in this age group.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

  • Most children over the age of 13 would not be frightened by this film.

Product placement

  • There is no product placement in this film.

Sexual references

  • There are no sexual references in this film.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • Murray and his wife kiss a couple of times.
  • When Mrs Whatsit changes from her human form into that of a flying creature, Calvin turns away quickly. Nudity is implied but the audience sees nothing.

Use of substances

  • There is no use of substances in this film.

Coarse language

  • There is no coarse language in the film however there are some hurtful comments made by bullies at school and Meg and her father are both called “crazy.” “Shut up” is also used on a number of occasions.

In a nutshell

A Wrinkle in Time is a fantasy adventure film based on the classic children’s novel by Madeleine L’Engle.

The main messages from this movie are to embrace your uniqueness, be brave enough to fight the darkness no matter what form it may take and recognise the power of love and the fact that it is always there for you even when you can’t see it.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Perseverance
  • Teamwork
  • Love

 

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children the importance of:

  • Believing in yourself and your abilities. Meg was able to save both Calvin and herself by using her mathematical abilities to calculate a trajectory to propel them to safety.
  • Empathy for others. Despite the fact that a girl at school treated Meg terribly, Meg was able to see that what caused her to behave so badly had nothing to do with her and everything to do with the way that the girl felt about herself.

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