Last week, all I could think about was finally seeing Ava Duvernay’s latest directorial feat, A Wrinkle in Time. Despite the mixed coverage of the film, nothing was going to diminish my eagerness. Adapted from the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the film follows Meg Murry, portrayed by Storm Reid, as she travels throughout the universe to find her scientist father with the help of her brother, Charles Wallace, friend, Calvin, and the extraordinary Mrs., Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling, respectively. My expectations were definitely high, but DuVernay and company didn’t just deliver an entertaining movie–they delivered an experience.
In reflecting on how A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay has impacted how I see film and pursue a career as a teenager and young adult, I’ve thought about the films that influenced me the most when I was a kid. Seeing DuVernay has been a representation of what I wish I saw more of as I realized I want to pursue film, but I’ve realized that I’ve neglected a director whose work has had a vast impact on how I see film and storytelling since I was a kid–Gina Prince-Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood has made some groundbreaking independent films and yet when I see discussions about more female directors and more female directors of color, I don’t often see her mentioned.
Prince-Bythewood received critical acclaim for her directorial debut, Love & Basketball, in 2000. Starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, Prince-Bythewood’s award-winning film follows Monica and Quincy in multiple stages in their lives as they navigate reaching their athletic dreams and the love between them. The film, also written by the director, just seems like an excellent love story, but as I continued to watch it as I got older, I realized more and more that it’s really about a young woman who’s trying to sort how she can achieve her dream and have the love of her life. It’s not in a way that the man she loves is making her choose. It’s Monica’s journey of believing that she can have both–love the game and love Quincy.
What a strange award season you are, we whisper in our best Cate Blanchett impression. It indeed is. But this year strangeness comes from not the unpredictability of the season, but the exact opposite. If you asked us months ago, we’d say that the upcoming award season was going to be full of fun with so many films that differ from each other. But alas, we spent the whole season watching same people win and listen to same speeches so much that the only way to differentiate them is through the winners’ clothes. Almost every main category at Academy Awards look locked at this point, so as the Much Ado team, we left predictions aside and ranked the nominees in main eight categories!