Every Monday and Friday we’re bringing you The Darkest Minds content leading up to the film’s Aug. 3 release.
When it comes to movies or books or television, writers often rely on personal experience, personal beliefs, or personal thoughts to explore a story.
Stories are an escape where you can take a break from life when things get too stressful. But stories are also important. They explore deep and meaningful themes in unique ways while always telling these stories through the eyes of complex characters that serve as our emotional tour guides.
The Darkest Minds is a story that is as important as it is a thrilling escape. Surely the circumstances in the novel aren’t ideal in the slightest, getting to go on this journey with Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu makes this story one that many people love. But The Darkest Minds is more important now more than ever.
Here are five reasons why The Darkest Minds movie is important:
1. It’s Similar To What’s Happening In Our World Now
Dystopian stories are never supposed to be realistic. They’re supposed to a warning of what could happen if things went to shit. Unfortunately, in our world, we’re currently living in the beginning of a dystopian novel just waiting for things to get worse. We’re speaking up against the authority that beats us down, but the increasing threat of what’s happening is enough to ignite real fear.
The Darkest Minds presents a world where adults are afraid of children because they’re different. So they decide to lock them in cages to contain them and prevent any sort of uprising. In the United States, President Donald Trump’s administration is separating immigrant children from their families and placing them in cages and holding them against their will. Actual cages. In The Darkest Minds, the kids that were imprisoned and treated poorly are fighting back. They’re fighting back against a cruel government whose first instinct is to cage what is different in an attempt to protect themselves. Because they’re afraid. And, surprise, surprise, that’s exactly what’s happening in the U.S. right now.
This movie is important now more than ever. Frankly, it couldn’t be happening at a better time as it presents an opportunity to bring more attention to the cruel injustice that’s going on in the United States. So go see this movie. Go tell people about this movie. And tell them to read the books because, duh. This is a story that deserves to be seen by many. And hopefully it can help shed some light on the cruel injustice in this country.
Representation is more important than one can possibly imagine. For the longest time, movies, television, and books seemed to mainly depict whites. Basically, they didn’t truly depict the world we live in. This is a country of immigrants, where there are people of all colors, genders, and sexualities. And if you ignore that in media, you’re choosing to whitewash the world we live in through fiction. It’s incredibly important for young girls and boys to see someone that looks like them on screen. It shows them that are people out there like them, but it also inspires them to dream big.
In The Darkest Minds, our core group of Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu is made up of one white male and three people of people (including a black lead in Amandla Stenberg, black male in Skylan Brooks, and an Asian girl in Miya Cech.) Not to mention the film’s director, Jennifer Yuh Nelson, is a woman of color, which is incredibly significant in an industry dominated by white males. The thing that makes this even better is the fact that author Alexandra Bracken’s story was incredibly diverse, as well. It’s important for people to see and read characters that are like them, it’s important for people to know that they’re represented in this world.
3. Encourages Collective Voices Joining Together
Given the world that we live in now – as all hell is breaking loose around us – it’s important more than ever for people to realize that they have a voice. And that that voice can be used to impact change in the world. Whether it’s the issue of gun violence or women’s rights or the injustice that is immigration reform, people are speaking up now more than ever. Because they realize that their voice can change the world. But more than that, a group of voices coming together as one can impact real change.
In The Darkest Minds, the government is afraid of the children that have developed abilities after a disease wiped through the United States, killing most but sparing others. They’re afraid of these children and decide to lock them up to contain them. But these children don’t fold in on themselves. They don’t stay silent. They fight back. They use their individual voice to unite with others like them to speak out and fight back. And that power – that comes with realizing that you possess power with your voice – is incredibly important.
4. Encourages Embracing Your Differences
The world is a cruel place. In a world full of unique individuals, people are often bullied and ridiculed because of their differences rather than celebrated for them. Whether it’s race or sexuality to beliefs, there’s power that comes in embracing what makes you different.
In The Darkest Minds, the Psi children represent those unique individuals that are ridiculed and mistreated by the government because they’re different. They possess abilities ranging from telekinesis to mind control to controlling energy that make them “dangerous.” Even within the color system (where Oranges and Reds are considered the most dangerous), there’s a sense of fear within Ruby as she hides who she really is because she’s scared Liam, Chubs, and Zu will be afraid of her. She spends most of this story hiding who she is until she learns to embrace her power in a way that’s empowering and life-saving.
5. YA Stories Are Important
Young Adult gets a bad rap. Whether it’s in books or the adaptations that come from them, there’s this misconception that YA stories aren’t important or good enough. That people aren’t interested in stories about adolescents. But the thing about the YA genre is that it transcends age. Plenty of YA readers are in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and even beyond. YA stories simply indicate that the protagonist is a teenager, typically around the 15-17 age range. But YA books have plenty to teach the young teens and even adults that read them. YA books are empowering as characters are growing into who they’ll ultimately become. First love, first heartbreak, first times. There’s so much to play with in YA stories.
In The Darkest Minds, this story is about four children – three that are teenagers – and how they’re dealing with the cruel world around them. They’re being targeted by the government because they possess abilities that they acquired after a government-sanctioned experiment went wrong. They’re different, and the government is afraid of them. So as Ruby, Liam, Chubs, and Zu are running from these people that want to throw them back into cages to control, they’re also dealing with being kids. Friendship, romance, adolescence. It just makes the story that more exciting.
The Darkest Minds hits theaters on Friday, Aug. 3.
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