“A Wrinkle In Time,” the novel by Madeleine L’Engle, is a short book. Packed into those few hundred pages are whole worlds. Some are in bright, brilliant colors, others in dull shades of brown, but all are equally fascinating.
Ava DuVernay’s reimagining of this beloved novel attempts to capture all of the sparkle and brilliance (and then some).
For those who didn’t have “A Wrinkle in Time,” included in their grade school curriculum, here’s a quick run through. Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a smart but troubled student dealing with the stress of school and the strain at home of an absent parent. Meg’s father, a brilliant scientist (Chris Pine), disappeared shortly after the arrival of her adopted brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). Four years after his disappearance, Meg maintains hope that he’ll return, in spite of the sometimes cruel opinions of others.
When Mrs Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) with her painful honesty, Mrs Who (Mindy Kaling) with her borrowed wisdom, and Mrs Which (Oprah Winfrey) with her powerful stature show up, Meg’s whole world is turned inside out. The three set out with Meg, Charles Wallace, and, brainy jock Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) to find Mr. Murry.
In case you haven’t caught on yet, “A Wrinkle in Time,” is complicated. It blends together actual science, science-fiction, and pure imagination. There’s tessering (aka – time and space travel), mistaken monsters, actual monsters, and a whole lot more. It’s a lot to take in, and while the film does its best to makes sense of it all, at times it get lost in a mess of its own making.
It’s a fact that changes need to be made when transitioning a story from the page to the big screen. In some places, they nailed it. Casting Meg as biracial, brilliant. Adding some diversity to the trio of celestial Mrs, another no-brainer. Simplifying the Murry family to just Meg, Charles Wallace and their parents, made sense (R.I.P. – Sandy and Dennys).
However, some other decisions were a little more questionable. Casting Zach Galifianakis as the Happy Medium, a character that is referred to as a “she” in the books, seems to contradict other decisions made in casting. The addition of unnecessary action sequences further complicated the plot while removing some of its emotional and intellectual depth which is where the story’s true strength lies.
That being said, as the film points out again and again and again, light can find its way even into the darkest and most dire of circumstances. And “A Wrinkle in Time,” most definitely has its bright spots. The three Mrs (sans the period, because it’s a name not an abbreviated title), are all as delightful and as colorful and quirky as you’d want them to be. Although, I have to admit Mrs Who, played by Mindy Kaling, has a special place in my heart with her endless words of borrowed wisdom. Quoting everyone from Shakespeare to Lin-Manuel Miranda, she’s an absolute delight.
Then, of course, where would “A Wrinkle in Time,” be without its Meg. To put it simply, Storm Reid is Meg. She’s fierce but insecure, smart but unsure, and as complex and complicated as she should be. The range and depth of her acting is astounding, and carries the film through its darkest moments. She’s the hero this film needs, even if the world around her falls short at times.
While the filmmakers clearly had the best of intentions, “A Wrinkle in Time,” never quite hits the mark. It’s beautiful at times and thoughtful and smart at others, but the different aspects never quite come together.
…just for fun: