From its first trailer at Comic-Con last year up until its release, Ava DuVernay‘s A Wrinkle in Time has been met with a variety of different opinions even before the curtain came up on its debut in cinemas screens. Much has been written about the film and those involved but the simple question to ask and discuss is whether the big-bad adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle‘s classic novel is worthy of our pennies this Spring.
Storm Reid leads the charge as Meg, a gifted young girl who is still reeling from the disappearance, and consequently death, of her father (Pine) who has been missing since she was little. Struggling to adapt to life without him, as well as that of high-school, she yearns for closure or, at the very least, some semblance of real hope that somehow, somewhere her father will return one day to her life. Her younger brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), himself supremely intellectual, believes he is still alive and has perfected a scientific phenomenon called Tessering, the ability to transport from one part of the universe to another. Soon, Meg and Charles are visited by three beings – Mrs. Which (Winfrey), Whatsit (Witherspoon) and Who (Kaling) – with news of their father and that they are here to send them across space and time to find him.
Based on a book that has been a beloved classic for over five decades, A Wrinkle in Time still holds as much prevalence and importance as it did back then with its themes of strong, resourceful women, children finding their own paths and the power of family, but for a film that’s been made in 2018 it’s disappointing to report that its in its visual elements that the film dont quite work. DuVernay, one of cinemas most mesmeric directors, tackles the core of the story and its characters as brilliantly as you would expect but for such a lavish, expensive endeavour you’d be forgiven for wanting much more. Indeed, it isn’t helped by a bombastic and overly propulsive soundtrack that leaves one feeling detached from proceedings rather than entwined in them.
Reid, the soon-to-be-insanely-massive star of the show, is extraordinary in the lead role and handles the weight of the film brilliantly, as if she was born for it – much will be heard of her going forward that’s for sure. Winfrey, Witherspoon, Mbatha-Raw and Pine provide classy support while there’s a welcome funny turn from Zach Galifianakis who pops up as the film’s literal Happy Medium. The same can’t be said for young McCabe, whose Charles Wallace may walk away with this year’s most irritating child character, particularly in the film’s second half where he becomes almost completely insufferable.
While its themes will resonate profoundly with younger audiences as well as being a colourful wonderland of imagination, there isn’t quite enough here for adults to invest and as such many will find this one hard to digest. Still, anything that DuVernay does is worth making the time for even if this one has a few more wrinkles in it than you would have hoped.
Scott J.Davis | ★★1/2
Fantasy, Family | USA, 2018 | PG | 23rd March 2018 (UK) | Walt Disney Studios | Dir.Ava DuVernay |Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Mindy Kaling