“A Wrinkle in Time” is a truly fantastical translation of Madeleine L’Engle’s book by the same name. The novel has been enjoyed by children and adults alike for decades, but this is the first attempt at bringing the adventure to the big screen.
Brought to life by director Ava DuVernay (of “Selma” fame), the movie follows the reluctant heroine, Meg (played by the lovely Storm Reid) as she travels (or “tessers”) to the fifth dimension with her precocious younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and admiring classmate Calvin (Levi Miller). The story starts with Meg as a younger girl, basking in the love of her parents as the family prepares to adopt and welcome Charles Wallace. Then suddenly, mysteriously, and without a trace her father, Dr. Murry (Chris Pine) vanishes from their garage-based science lab. The loss of her father, and the lack of answers surrounding his disappearance, transforms Meg from a curious and confident academic girl to a skeptical, withdrawn, and self-conscious teen. Bullied by classmates, she seems to second-guess everything, except her love for her younger brother.
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin embark on the adventure of a lifetime after Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) magically appears to suggest that Dr. Murry is still alive, but just stuck in another dimension. The adventurers are supported by a talented trio that adds the reassuring presence of Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) and the supportive quotes of Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) to Mrs. Whatsit’s quirky charms.
They overcome a number of obstacles and tests together and finally end up in a battle for their lives against the evil IT on the dreaded planet Camazotz, which is full of tricks and illusions. It will take all of Meg’s heart and courage, and the wisdom given her by the Mrs’s, to bring her father and brother home safely.
I think the entire production team did an admirable job bringing the rich and complex subject matter to the big screen. The movie has a lot of strengths. Unfortunately, sometimes a strength of the film also ended up being its weakness. For example, stunning makeup, costumes, and hair on the menagerie of Mrs.’s ended up feeling like a disjointed intergalactic fashion show by the fourth costume change. Additionally, within the truly star-studded cast, only Reid and McCabe seem to be able to truly shine. All the adults (with the exception of the surprise arrival of Zach Galifianakis as the Happy Medium) give an air of trying too hard to make it all work.
Ultimately, in spite of its shortcomings, I’m a fan of this version of “A Wrinkle in Time”. The core message that love conquers all, especially delivered by such a multi-dimensional cast in such an untraditional way, was really inspiring. No knight in shining armor (literal or figurative) was required to rescue the damsel in distress. Mrs. Which reassures her to “have faith in who you are” and in the end, Meg is able to do just that. She has the intellect and love required to save both her father and brother. She shows us all what is truly possible when you believe in yourself and the power of love.
Amy Kellestine is an educator, engineer, Arati life coach and entrepreneur living in Edmonton, Alberta. She spends her free time camping, gardening, and volunteering for causes such as Cystic Fibrosis and nature conservation. She is a devoted mother and is passionate about helping others and writing.