Based on the classic 1962 book of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time is a faithful yet safe version that wows with the visuals.
The movie adaptation, directed by Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, centers on Meg Murry (Storm Reid), a smart yet hurting middle school student whose brilliant scientist father (Chris Pine) disappeared four years prior.
Her intelligent scientist mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) has been a solo parent to her and her adopted prodigy brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Things are not going well for Meg as she is being bullied in school and her grades are slumping as a result of the grief of losing her father and frustration of wondering where he went.
But her father didn’t just run off, he “tessered,” slipping into a distant part of the universe to prove a hypothesis about space, time and consciousness that he and his wife had developed together.
Now he is lost, and everything is threatened by a malevolent force known as the IT, which lives on a planet called Camazotz and causes chaos and evil to take root on every world it touches.
Then Charles Wallace introduces Meg to three mysterious women.
Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) is a red-haired slightly scatterbrained chatterbox, short on patience.
Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) can only speak in quotes from poets, historical figures, and rappers because she’s “evolved beyond language.”
And the leader of the trio, Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey), offering up guidance and tough love, all the while encouraging Meg to find and become her best self and to be a warrior for good against the forces of darkness.
Along with her friend Calvin (Levi Miller), Meg and Charles Wallace follow the Mrs. as they tesser through the universe to find her father.
There are some timely messages for children and teens about being true to yourself and loving yourself, faults and all. But the message is almost drowned out by spectacle of the way the story is presented.
The visuals are well done, especially the planet Uriel and the flying flowers, and the trio of Mrs. are technicolor goddesses of sorts. But a lot of the edges and scariness of the original story have been sanded down to Disney family movie standards.
That doesn’t mean the film isn’t worth seeing. It is a wonderful film to share with the family. Just don’t go in expecting a 100% faithful version of the book.
Enjoy this film for what it is – a solid telling of a young girl forced to use her wits and love for her family to trancend the evils in the universe and find her father, with amazing visuals. This film is best enjoyed by the young and the young-at-heart.
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A Wrinkle in Time
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Director: Ava DuVernay
Cast: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Peña, Zach Galifianakis
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[photo credits: Atsushi Nishijima/Disney]
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