From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic that takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, good versus evil and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.
With so many modern films following the same conventions in storytelling, it is easy to judge and make assumptions when a film does not meet those criteria. Keeping that in mind, the first reaction is that the movie is failing to present the narrative clearly. Yet, the trick for A Wrinkle In Time is to let go of those assumptions. That feeling of confusion and the quick pace are intentional. For those who haven’t read the book, this may not make a whole lot of sense. Yet, even if you were to gaze at the summary of the original story, you can see that the idea was not as concrete and tangible as we see in other children’s stories. The idea is to generate a realistic feeling of a dream and is more abstract.
As expected, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling provided solid performances. The only fallback is that their characters are not the forefront of the story. They appear to be more subtle guides than actual players in the turnout of the narrative. The same can be said with the entire adult ensemble for this picture. There are plenty of laughs, smiles, and inspirational moments between them. Instead, these big players are there to compliment the performances of their younger counterparts. The focus of the film falls to Storm Reid and the rest of the younger talent. Reid provides a great complexity that really draws you into Meg’s strength and intelligence. Meg has a very scientific and analytic background, she questions everything and is hesitant. All the while, she has heart and lets that shine brightly. As the story grows, she grows, and it’s a nice balance given Reid’s performance.
For actor Storm Reid, it’s a story that sends a message to audiences to always love yourself. “It is okay to have good days and bad days because that is what makes us human beings, but do what you love and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do something,” she says.
Other supporting roles come from Girl Meets World, Rowan Blanchard, as well as Aussie teen, Levi Miller. Blanchard plays Meg’s Bully, Veronica, who may have something more going on than meets the eye. Miller plays Meg’s new found friend, Calvin, who reverses the gender roles as the supportive counterpart for Reid. He doesn’t overpower her presence and relies on her to make it through the adventure. Overall, what stands out with this picture is the risk-taking Disney has taken with the project. It’s a difficult adaptation that uses a story not everyone is familiar with.
Risks are needed to keep the hope of artistic originality alive. Especially at a time where remakes and reboots are a dime a dozen. This film features an African American woman as director, an African American lead actress and one of the most diverse casts of any major science fiction release. This is a huge step forward in a medium desperate for change and fresh perspective. That will provide a significant boost that may be the greatest hope this film will have at impressing a conventional audience. Whether or not the bet will pay off for A Wrinkle In Time, is yet to be seen. This movie is an artistic and cultural achievement.
Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” has been inspiring readers of all ages since 1962. Now, Ava DuVernay’s imaginative new adaptation is sure to create legions of new fans and something epic and meaningful to last for years to come.
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