'A Wrinkle in Time' and 10 films celebrating sibling adventures

16 Mar 2018 BY Michael Prescott in Film Features

5 mins
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time

Disney's latest blockbuster, A Wrinkle in Time - adapted from the 1962 science fantasy novel from author Madeleine L'Engle - is directed by Ava DuVernay, who has previously helmed political dramas such as Selma and documentary 13th.

The plot sees mixed-race teenage protagonist Meg and her adopted little brother Charles Wallace being whisked away into magical faraway lands of the universe by three mysterious, enchanting women: Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), celebrating diversity through its characters and cast. Together with Meg's classmate Calvin, they journey across dangerous landscapes to find Meg and Charles Wallace's father who has been missing for four years.

The relationship between siblings is a unique one, often explored on the big screen via rivalries, close bonds and everything in between, and it plays a crucial part in A Wrinkle in Time's narrative. Without each other, Meg and Charles Wallace are doomed to fail, but together they are stronger. Both children inherit the love of science from their passionate, professorial parents and their adventure takes them into realms they could scarcely imagine, requiring them to use all their knowledge, might and inner strength to stick together and overcome the darkness which corrupts all.

Inspired by this colourful and creative story, we've put together a list of ten children's films suitable for upper primary and lower secondary audiences to celebrate the fantastical, magical nature of sibling adventures.

Brothers and Sisters

The same ‘us-against-the-world' mentality of A Wrinkle in Time is shared by Spy Kids, an action-adventure comedy which puts a brother and sister at the centre of its story, relegating the parents to the background. Combining this family dynamic with gadgets, gizmos and other spy tropes leads to an entertainment action flick that has spawned numerous sequels.

Both a remake of the 1974 film and an adaptation of Arthur Ransome's original 1935 novel in which four siblings - two brothers and two sisters (evoking The Chronicles of Narnia film franchise) - known as the Swallows, become embroiled in a war with rival children named the Amazons. Set in the Lake District, both sets of children are determined to claim a piece of land in this charming, gentle film which embraces adventure, responsibility and friendship - as well as the great outdoors!

This classic British family musical may be most fondly remembered for the titular character (played with sweetness and sincerity by Julie Andrews) as well as the well-staged songs, but it's also a great example of two young kids being swept off their feet and transported, in one sense, to a whole new world. Jane and Michael Banks are transformed by their new nanny, and later this year we'll see them reunited when Mary Poppins Returns.

From Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon comes this utterly charming tale based on Irish folklore in which 4-year-old Saoirse turns into a seal-like creature known as a Selkie. Along with older brother Ben, she journeys across the terrain in order to find her way home. Song of the Sea is a magical ode to traditional Gaelic storytelling as well as showcasing the power and pull of the family unit.

Brothers

Twin brothers Zip and Zap find themselves enrolled in a strict summer school in this Spanish language adventure. Upon arrival, the boys team up with new friends to form a mischievous gang who continue to defy the school's dictator-like director, Falconetti. This culminates in a race between the two sets of opponents to solve clues to discover the secrets hidden within the school grounds in this playful and inventive adaptation of a comic strip.

Simple pleasures are the order of the day in this sweet-natured Indian drama in which brothers Vignesh and Ramesh seek to earn enough money to buy a slice of pizza from the shiny new outlet. This engaging children's film is both entertaining and educational, never shying away from the harsher aspects of slum life, with the siblings remaining upbeat despite their poverty-stricken surroundings.

A modern classic from Disney which is very much about brotherly love, even though elder sibling Tadashi is present in spirit-only for much of the story. 14-year-old Hiro teams up with his brother's adorable robot creation, Baymax, to fight for the fictional city of San Fransokyo in this origin story which is loosely based on the superhero characters from Marvel Comics, also acting as a heartfelt study of grief and legacy.

Sisters

Regular Disney writer Jennifer Lee penned the screenplays for both Frozen (which she also co-directed) and A Wrinkle in Time, with the latter being her first foray into live-action. Frozen has quickly become a seminal fairy tale animation - adapted from Hans Christian Andersen's ‘The Snow Queen' - and it focuses on the relationship between sisters Anna and Elsa, with a message of learning to love yourself with the support of those around you. And there's a sequel on the way!

Lindsay Lohan plays both identical twins, Annie and Hallie, in this utterly feel-good family film - a reboot of a 1961 release - which sees the two girls switch places. Though much of the film takes place with the two girls on the opposite sides of the globe, their initial meeting at an American summer camp revels in the frolicking one-upmanship between the pair.

Studio Ghibli's tender anime sees two girls move to the countryside and have lovely, low-key adventures with the spirits of the forest nearby. It's a beautifully observed film which captures the quiet moments of childhood and embraces a more implicit sisterly love, particularly in tough times, and is a joy to watch for children of any age.

Michael Prescott

Michael Prescott, Film Curation Officer

Michael has an MA in Film Studies with Screenwriting from Sheffield Hallam University. He has previously worked at the British Council and on the BFI Film Academy, and has volunteered at organisations including Sheffield Doc/Fest and Cinema for All.

You may also be interested in...

Viewing 4 of 4 related items.

film club

Clubs

Discover free films for watching, discussing and exploring filmmaking.

write articles for us

Want to write for us?

Get in touch with your article ideas for the News and Views section.