A Wrinkle in Time, the readapation of basically everyone’s favorite childhood book by Madeleine L’Engle, chronicles the adventure of young Meg Murray (Storm Reid), on a quest to find her father. In the process she unwilling becomes a warrior for the light against the evil of the universe. Calvin (Levi Miller) and her younger brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) accompany her, guided by three seriously peculiar goddesses/guardians/celestial beings. In truth, the whole adventure is simply a coming of age story for the relentlessly teased Meg. It came so close to being a fantastic film, but tried to combine too many ideas in the space of two hours. (spoilers below)
This film felt so ordinary. Protagonist goes on a journey of self discovery and learns to love themself, aided by a corny love interest and powerful guiding forces who do nothing but offer unhelpful advice. To be clear, I have no problem with self discovery journeys. I do have a problem when the film relies on tropes and fails to add anything new. I was waiting anxiously for some plot twist or great reveal that would bump the film up the extra step it needed to greatness… aaaand nothing happened. I’m pretty sure I predicted about 96% of the film accurately.
So, the second problem. I think part of the reason it felt so discombobulated was because there were really cool elements that had the potential to be really interesting, but were kept at surface level. For example, Meg’s father discovered the tesseract, a higher dimension (???) which enables people to teleport across the universe when they tap into the right frequency. And I have so many questions!! How did her father learn this? He’s been missing for four years, so why didn’t he just tesserate back? What even is this higher dimension?? I understand this is a fantasy/science fiction movie, so I’m already suspending a lot of belief. But, it can only go so far. Like, if I’m going to accept people can tesserate across the universe there better be flawless worldbuilding that backs it up.
A lot of the film felt progressive; major lines were dropped about accepting oneself both as a woman and/or a woman of color. Aspects of these deeper themes peeked out from the plot, but were then smothered by insanely corny lines and childish dialogue creating a push and pull between a more mature film to one aimed at little kids. (Literally, my friend and I were hard-core cringing half the film from second hand embarrassment). To be fair, the kids were splendid actors and the inclusion of Oprah was a definite bonus, but I wish the director had dug deeper and explained more. Director DuVernay had the right pieces in the puzzle but they didn’t stick together well.