A WRINKLE IN TIME is based on the beloved book by Madeleine L’Engle, published in 1962. Even then the characters broke boundaries. Our high school misfit and reluctant hero Meg Murray has scientists for both father AND mother. It is Meg’s story, and she leads two boys on a journey through time and space. Director Ava DuVernay takes the story and crashes through more boundaries – reimagining the Murrays as a mixed-race family with an adopted son. The crazy psychedelic creatures Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which? They’ve been transformed to embody strong, culturally diverse women: Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon and Oprah. So what did we think? Continue reading for our full A WRINKLE IN TIME review.
Film Synopsis: Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is an awkward, introverted high-school-aged girl who doesn’t fit in. Both her parents are scientists, and one day an experiment with “tessering” caused her father (Chris Pine) to disappear for going on four years now. Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) are transported on an adventure through time and space by three beings. Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) help the children to find and hopefully rescue Meg’s father from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet.
It’s a far-out story. Which means many of the elements on screen should be grounded in reality in order to take us on a fantastic journey. Think STAR WARS. Lightsabers are based on swords, Stormtrooper helmets based on WWII helmets. For A WRINKLE IN TIME, Ava DuVernay took her imagination and ran – costumes, hair, new planets, the evil IT – each is more “out there” than the last. There is no basis in reality, which makes grasping the story and connecting to the characters that much harder. And while the costumes of the Mrs. characters are absolutely fabulous, the sheer craziness of them leaves you thinking of the clothes, and not of the dialogue or intent of the scene.
TIP: If you do see the film, pay attention to Mrs. Who’s clothing in close-ups.
There are quotes on the edges of each fabric piece!
One element in A WRINKLE IN TIME does stand out in a good way. The warmth and connection Meg Murray and her father have does come across on film. Storm Reid and Chris Pine’s scenes together tug at the heart-strings. The film works best in these scenes, when we can empathize whole-heartedly with the characters and aren’t distracted by acid-trip backdrops.
As for Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit, Reese Witherspoon wins the gold medal for playing a charming celestial being. And Deric McCabe (Charles Wallace Murray) is perfectly cast as the affable, uber-intelligent younger brother to Meg.
I wanted to love A WRINKLE IN TIME, as I loved the book. Alas, much as it pains me to write this, the film is ultimately a disappointment.