A Wrinkle in Time is a beautiful journey of mystics and science with the heart wrenching central theme of love. When I saw that Ava DuVernay would be directing the new installment of A Wrinkle in Time, my heart pirouetted just a little. I'm a sucker for nostalgia, and as a child, few books resonated with me on the level that this one did. The concept of science, time and space mixed in with a relatable antagonist, with sprinkles of a pointed mysticism, held a special place in my heart. Then, the exceptionally diverse cast only served to further my approval.
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle, was first published in 1962, and the magic of it's genius seems to transcend time. Based on traveling through space and time via a tesseract that can be activated by the right frequency, this travel potential opens us up to a universe of wonder and possibility. The movie was the first $100 million movie directed by a black woman. It is 2018 and we are still getting "First Black ____" achievements.
Ava made the right choices with this cast. With actresses like Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Khaling and Storm Reid, among others, the movie explored it's potential with a young black girl as a central protagonist. I saw my daughter in her. I saw so many little black girls in her, and I felt the warmth of the representation almost as if my own, and I loved it.
I find the strength of the movie to be primarily in these characters. Storm Reid made an undeniably sophisticated portrayal of Meg Murry. I am not sure how I pictured her when reading the book as a child but I can see her as nothing but Storm now. Furthermore, Deric McCabe's Charles Wallace was flawless. Absolutely what I was expecting, and I was beyond satisfied. The Mrs' all regal and splendid in their appearances, did well to express their particular peculiar personalities. Not to mention the ostentatious and yet beautifully done costume and make-up work. There was maybe one outfit of all that I saw that I wasn't in love with from a design perspective, but overall I found them to be ravishing.
A Wrinkle in Time is incontestably, a children's movie, and that fact could work to it's detriment in some ways, but in other ways, also strengthens it's thematic purpose. I feel as if there was something missing from the conflict, or the explanation of certain aspects of the world that made me fall in love with the original story. The concept of the pulse and the rhythm of "The It" was something that I was expecting more detail behind. That notion was one that stood in direct contrast to that of pure emotion. I felt that that and other aspects of the darkness could've used far more explanation, as the book largely thrives on conceptual constructs. It seemed that it was allowed to be cast aside in favor of "love trumps all" and the simple fact that a children's movie doesn't need to be afforded those complexities. Though it was these things, ironically, that I loved as a child. The bias between what I wanted from the book and how much that supports my love for the movie, as well as how well the movie stands alone without any prior love for the book is what puts me at impasse. I don't I'm able to accurately judge some aspects of the film. Still, the emotion and love concepts of the movie were the main things that mattered, and that was certainly delivered.
There were a few cringe worthy moments that took me out, such as Charles Wallace touching the giant Mrs. Which's face, and Mrs. Who's quotes followed by the person who quoted them and where they were from. That felt a little excessive, and though I haven't read the book for years I don't think I remember that being a part of it. I think quotes alone would've done better. Plus, when she spoke normally, the explanation for why felt lazy. I was also disappointed by the design of Mrs. Whatit's transformation as well as the heavy, unconvincing CGI. That took me out of what was one of my favorite moments in the book. Lastly, the ending confrontation felt lazy and cliche, and overpowered with meaningless CGI. "The It" felt a little too disembodied and uninteresting. As mentioned earlier this could have done better if tied into aspects seen early in the film. The events of the journey simply did not coalesce as seamlessly as I think they should have.
Still, the movie did what it set out to do. It was a story about love and hope in the face of darkness. It made strong father-daughter bonds in a way no other story as done with quite the same effect, and gave us representation that I know little black girls need in their lives. This alone was enough to make me feel the weight in my chest. And for that, despite my grievances, I love this film. When a movie can speak emotion to you in the way this one does, then it deserves to be congratulated for it. Whether you read the book or not, I implore you to go see A Wrinkle in Time, and enjoy the journey.