A Wrinkle in Time
Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Screenplay by: Jennifer Lee, Based upon the novel by: Madeleine L’Engle
Run Time: 1h 49min
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
3 Frames out of 5
By: Shari K. Green
This is a story of light overpowering the darkness, good overwhelming evil and love’s triumph over hate. There are some magical moments in the film but a few instances of head-scratching will occur, as well. We are taken on a journey that a young woman, Meg (Reid), must take in order to move forward with her life. Doubting love, unhappy with life and questioning her self-worth most of all, the sweet and happy-go-lucky little girl of the past has lived the last four years in misery and prefers keeping to herself, the only person she can trust. She knows her little brother, the highly intelligent and gifted Charles Wallace, played by an adorable and very into the part, Deric McCabe, loves her. If she’s to believe in love, however, why did her father leave her if he loved her as much as she loved him? The central question eating away at Meg is if he could just walk away, so could anyone else so why get attached?
Its been four years since she last saw her father, Mr. Murry (Pine), a brilliant Nasa scientist who believed you could fold time and move through it. Alone one night, he simply disappeared without a trace. At the time, he and her mother were working on a theory of projecting oneself through the universe with one’s mind. They introduced this idea to a group of scientists who weren’t ready to hear such a thing, not ready to hear that there were no rules to space and time. Her mother, played elegantly by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, a physicist and the more prudent of the two, knew telling them too early about the act of ‘Tessering’, moving from one place to another by closing your eyes, opening your mind and finding the right rhythm or frequency to travel, would not be taken seriously but her husband told them anyway only to be rejected. Not including her in another decision, he works in their lab and vanishes. Unsure if he left because he doesn’t love them anymore, the family is devastated and all work in science is halted… or so they thought. Young Charles Wallace has a secret to share with his big sister and the timing couldn’t be better.
He has been in contact with three divine, ethereal beings, referred to as the Mrs. as their names are (in order of appearance), Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Kaling) and the blessed, more powerful, Mrs. Which (Winfrey). They’re colorful, otherworldly souls who are aware of Mr. and Mrs. Murry and their achievements. They inform Meg, Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin (Miller) that they have heard a call from Mr. Murry and that they intend to help the children find him. They also tell them that he may be in danger. The spirits teach a very stubborn Meg that she needs to believe and to open her heart to find the right pitch in order to leap or Tesser into another dimension. She’s suspicious but joins the group to find herself on another plain in the universe. At a later moment, Mrs. Which explains that to Meg that a lot went into making her and that she’s a part of this giant universe, too. She deserves love… is love.
Zach Galifianakis, who gives a wonderful and somewhat stirring performance as Happy Medium (a fun play on words), a seer who helps point them in the direction their father can be found, tries to break through the wall Meg has surrounded herself with. It’s at this point that they all agree they need to show Meg what’s at stake. The It, which is the darkest mind in the universe, that can reach any and everywhere, even earth, wants to bring pain, despair and darkness to the universe and is where their father is trapped. They must save him, and but the Mrs. can go no further. The children are given a few gifts to help them and are sent out on their own. Once they are on their own, the movie has visual delights that will fascinate and amuse all who watch, especially the youngest in the audience. Structures begin to move and change which is interesting. There are some creepy moments and surreal moments, all done exceptionally well. Michael Peňa makes his appearance in a scene you wish you could rewind to watch again, and before he’s gone, he grabs Charles Wallace and infects him with the evil energy. The actor playing Charles Wallace is wonderful here, portraying a loving child one moment and conjuring a demon the next. He tries to get Meg to join him but she fights for their lives against the darkness; fights for them all. Megs final Tesser is glorious and you’ll know what I mean by that when you experience it yourself.
The film is good. This will be the family movie of the year. Youngsters will have a wonderful time watching it and so will you. Forget about Madeline L’Engle’s fantasy novel, just enjoy the film. I had a few problems with how director DuVernay didn’t set up the connection with Meg and her father enough for the audience to truly feel the love and bond between and scene with them toward the end which makes him look like a complete coward and turns you against him. That doesn’t make sense but overall, she did an exceptional job directing these young actors and bringing this beautiful story to the screen. The score and the soundtrack are fantastic, as well. See this at the theatre to experience it all the ways it should be.
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