Dr. Alex Murray (Chris Pine) is a dedicated scientist who has discovered a new concept of time travel. During his research he suddenly vanishes without explanation leaving behind his wife and young children. His prolonged absence takes quite a toll on the family, his daughter Meg (Storm Reid) in particular.
Meg is awkward and self-conscious like many girls her age and plagued by feelings of low self-esteem. When three celestial beings known as the “Mrs.” (Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling) deliver the good news that Dr. Murray is alive, Meg teams up with her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) and little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) to find him and bring him home.
I am impressed by how ambitious Wrinkle is in terms of its subject matter. The importance of self-confidence and the power of love are just two ideas that the film explores. It also attempts to tackle the mystery of evil and encourage young viewers to fight darkness with Light.
Set against an exquisitely beautiful backdrop and featuring some of Hollywood’s most celebrated talent A Wrinkle in Time is truly a spectacle to behold, even if it doesn’t hit every single mark.
I think that smart casting choices were made. Storm Reid is a young actress who made a great impression on me after I saw her in Sleight last year; she is perfectly unassuming in the role of Meg and brings such an innocence and relatable quality to the character. I think many young viewers will see themselves reflected in her.
Each of the “Mrs.” are quirky in their own right. Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit is quite youthful and gregarious, while Kaling’s Mrs. Who speaks only in quotes, preferring to use the words of others rather than produce her own. Then there is Mrs. Which played by the venerable Winfrey. I felt that we didn’t have enough time to get to know these beings. Thankfully I read the source material (the 1962 novel by Madeline L’Engle) last year in preparation for this adaptation.
This is where it becomes tricky; taking a beloved novel and translating it to the silver screen is no easy feat. Frozen‘s Jennifer Lee is up for the challenge, but one thing that stuck out to me was the weakness of some of the dialogue. The talent is certainly there (no one disputes this), but if said talent isn’t given meaningful words to say the performance can fall flat and I think that is the case for some of the actors here.
Pine gives a wonderful performance as Dr. Murray and that honestly surprised me. Not that I don’t find him talented, but I just assumed that there would be little for him to do since he is the one who needs to be rescued. Yet it was the moments between him and Meg that moved me the most. I believed everything about him; that he loved his family and deeply regretted some of his career decisions.
He isn’t the typical Disney dad who adds nothing to the story and he isn’t the kind of “hero” dad either who has no flaws. He is simply authentic and serves as a huge motivating force throughout the film. One scene in particular that blew me away was his reunion with Meg on the dark planet of Camazotz. This planet is the home of the Darkness and where Dr. Murray has been imprisoned the last four years. I dare you to watch it and not be moved to tears when the father and daughter embrace for the first time in years. I’ve found myself thinking of that scene many times since I first watched it and I think you will too.
A Wrinkle in Time is a visually stunning film that boasts some of the most beautiful sequences I’ve seen in recent years. What the filmmakers were able to achieve with color, lighting and effects is just incredible. For someone who previously had no experience with the use of CG and visual effects in a film, I think it’s impressive what Academy-Award nominated director Ava DuVernay was able to craft.
Moreover, I’m glad that Duvernay took the brave step to stand at the helm of a project like this one. When you look at her hefty dossier you don’t see anything that even closely resembles Wrinkle. This is her foray into Fantasy and Sci-Fi and I think it proves her to be a true artist. One who isn’t afraid to try something different from time to time. Simply put this one ain’t for the critics (no typo). It’s for the dreamers and non-cynics.
Overall, I think Wrinkle is a vibrant, meaningful film that will no doubt leave young audiences mesmerized. Take a kid (or two) to see it this weekend! 🙂
A Wrinkle in Time is directed by Queen Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th) and based on the original novel of the same name by Madeline L’Engle. The script comes from Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Wreck it Ralph) and Jeff Stockwell (Bridge to Terabithia). It stars Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Deric McCabe, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Chris Pine, and Zach Galifanakis. Its currently in theaters!
One of my favorite fantasy movies of all-time is the 1984 classic The NeverEnding Story. Do you have a favorite fantasy/sci-fi film? Tell me all about YOUR fave in the comments below!