The movie adaptation of the beloved children’s classic book, “A Wrinkle in Time,” hit theaters earlier this month. While the film stays true to most of the book’s elements, the film’s screenwriter intentionally cut all Christian references originally included in its pages.
“A Wrinkle in Time” is a story about a young girl named Meg Murray and her little brother, Charles Wallace, who embark on an adventure with fellow classmate Calvin O’Keefe to find their missing scientist father. Three mysterious travelers guide the children—Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which—as they travel through space.
Author of “A Wrinkle in Time” Madeleine L’Engle is publicly recognized as a devout Christian. In her journal, Engle wrote about “A Wrinkle in Time”: “If I’ve ever written a book that says what I feel about God and the universe, this is it. This is my psalm of praise to life, my stand for life against death.”
The film stars actors such as Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Zach Galifianakis, is directed by Ava DuVernay of the film “Selma” and is written by Jennifer Lee of “Frozen.”
In an interview with Uproxx, Lee explained she omitted significant Christian elements from L’Engle’s book to make the film more inclusive.
“One of the reasons Madeleine L’Engle’s [book] had that strong Christian element to it wasn’t just because she was Christian, but because she was frustrated with things that needed to be said to her in the world and she wasn’t finding a way to say it, and she wanted to stay true to her faith,” Lee said. “And I respect that and I understand those feelings of things you want to say in the world that need to be said that are out there. In a good way, I think there are a lot of elements of what she wrote that we have progressed as a society and we can move onto the other elements.”
To sum it up, basically Lee is saying the Christian elements in Engle’s book are not essential to the theme. To Lee, the Christian elements matter only to those who believe what L’Engle believes, and the rest of the people in the world who “have progressed” can ignore them.
In the book, the celestial beings Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which guide Meg with Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 and John 1:5, and Charles even asks Calvin to read him a bedtime story from the book of Genesis. Of course, viewers will not see these elements in the movie.
Lee said she chose to focus on more “universal” themes and argues the Christian themes would stray from the movie’s celebration of diversity.
What if L’Engle was a different religion? What if she was Hindu, Islamic, Buddhist? What if her underlying themes were about feminism or fighting for minority rights? I cannot imagine Lee would leave any of those themes out of the movie adaptation.
While those issues are important, the fact of the matter is, according to Lee, Christian themes are not important to those who are not Christians. Yet, if we take a look at the social justice and religious battles being waged in society today––feminism, gender roles, sexuality, atheism, minority religions––these are pressed in on members of society from all sides.
There is a constant pressure to change perspective on social and religious issues—unless it is a Christian perspective.
If “A Wrinkle in Time” reflected on the importance of sexual and gender acceptance, feminism, other religions or other social and religious issues, I don’t think Lee would consider cutting them from the film, so what makes it right for central Christian themes to be removed?