A Wrinkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time
Directed by Ava DuVernay
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, Michael Peña, Zach Galifianakis, Mindy Kaling and David Oyelowo
In UK Cinemas March 23rd, 2018

by Amanda Farley

A Wrinkle in Time is a star studded feast of colour and spectacle. Director Ava DuVernay’s adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s novel is a brave and daring attempt to bring a much-loved children’s classic to life. 13-year-old Meg Murry (Storm Reid) struggles with the loss of her scientist father (Chris Pine), her once happy existence is now blighted by his absence. However, with the help of her precocious little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), school friend Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) and three rather strange celestial beings – Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Meg finds herself on a mission, traveling across the universe, to save her father from the terrible all-encompassing darkness, known only as The IT.

This was never going to be an easy adaption. L’Engle’s work is difficult to bring to life on screen and DuVernay’s offering is an interesting mix of triumph and failure. Reid dazzles in her performance and it is great to see a female protagonist, guided by a trio of strong female characters, who saves herself and her family. It’s also refreshing not to have an overtly romantic centre, Meg and Calvin clearly like each other but the film is really about the sibling love between Meg and Charles Wallace. Their care and devotion for each other is what brings the family back together and gives Meg the power to love herself.

A Wrinkle in Time is the first $100 million movie directed by an African American woman and DuVernay, who does not need to prove her worth, once again illustrates her directing prowess. This might not be an outright success, but her reimagining of the text makes it feel fresh and relevant to audiences today. She brings her distinct sensibility to L’Engle’s work and breathes new life into it, in a way that lesser directors would struggle to do. The real triumph of the film though is Reid’s performance. Her portrayal of Meg’s emotional state, of her anger and despair, is disarming and really encapsulates the trauma of being 13-years-old and feeling hurt and inadequate. Her star potential is obvious and it will be interesting to see how her career develops. McCabe also stands out in the little brother role. It’s not an easy line but he manages to be likable and cute rather than just annoying.

From a CGI viewpoint this film is beautiful. Worlds and creatures appear and disappear to be replaced by equally stunning vistas and characters. What lets it down however is story, it never really gets going and the result is something less than satisfying. Scenes feel eggy and it’s hard as an audience to really connect to what’s going on. It’s a shame the script isn’t better. The writing lacks depth and sadly no amount of visual trickery or good casting can hide that fact. The plot is convoluted and it never really picks up pace. The stakes are low because we don’t really get to the heart of the story. Nowhere is this clearer than when we meet The IT. What is meant to be the ultimate embodiment of evil appears instead as a rather lame and uninspiring mangle of tree roots.

This is far from being a brilliant film, but there is a lot of good here and hopefully A Wrinkle in Time will start some interesting conversations and inspire some kids to feel that yes, they are perfect just the way they are. It’s not an unpleasant viewing experience, but both kids and adults will struggle to feel blown away by Disney’s latest offering.


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