Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time
By: Dakota Arnold
A Wrinkle in Time is an adventure-filled children’s movie made up of scenes meant to elicit a child-like wonder within its viewers. Much like the book it’s based off of, this film is meant to appeal to a child audience, something that director Ava Duvernay reminds us of before the movie even begins. I’ll admit that while I did read the book as a kid, I don’t remember much of it, although I do remember enjoying it. This combined with the fact that I love the director (who previously worked on the movie Selma and the TV drama Queen Sugar) made this a highly anticipated movie for me.
A Wrinkle in Time, based on the Madeleine L’Engle book of the same name, follows a troubled young girl named Meg (Storm Reid), her genius brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller) on their quest to find the siblings’ father (Chris Pine) who disappeared 4 years prior to the main setting of the movie. They find help in three mystical beings, who were befriended by Charles Wallace, named Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). Together, they make their way across the wonders of the Universe in their journey to find him.
This sense of wonder is both a very important and very present aspect of the movie that is conveyed through the intricacies of the costume designs for the Mrs.W’s as well as the otherworldly characters they encountered along the way. The $100 million budget used for this film shines through in the visuals, however, the movie’s dependency on its visuals is the main reason for its overall shortcomings.
The first half of this movie focuses solely on the establishment of characters and highlighting visuals themselves, rather than furthering the plot. The main conflict is introduced early but the sense of urgency to solve it just isn’t present until the last half, making it hard to organically root for the characters, since the movie focuses on visuals rather than the main storyline. This being said, the second half of the movie is extremely compelling, the storytelling and ability of the child actors (especially Deric McCabe) had me at the edge of my seat and left me wanting more. Specifically, more explanation of the background of the setting and more time to spend with the characters that I had only just begun to root for.
Overall the movie is good for what it is: an adaptation of an old book that has been read by generations of children growing up after its release in the 60s. The main cause for the drawbacks in the writing is due to the fact that two hour movies can’t spend time on explanation and character development in the same way that books can. It is important to note that the movie has a much bigger impact than just being a movie adaptation of an old book. It shows a young biracial female protagonist that is dynamic and multifaceted in a family that isn’t the typical nuclear family which movie goers are used to seeing. It follows themes of self-love and familial love in characters that they aren’t familiar with, all while holding up to being a beautiful movie. Altogether, even though the movie has certain things weighing it down in the writing, it does a terrific job with its overall goal which is to be an impactful children’s movie.