Adapted from the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, Wrinkle in Time has always been a fantastical adventure for the whole family. However, it proves too wildly ambitious on screen.
The film follows the adventures of Meg (Storm Reid) and her little brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) on an adventure to find their lost father (Chris Pine). The two are joined by Meg’s classmate, Calvin (Levi Miller) and three mysterious guides, Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) as they embark on a dangerous journey across planets and time.
This story has often been deemed “unfilmable” by many, however, Ava DuVernay boldly accepted the task. To those who are faithful to the book, the film has taken some liberties to expand and modernized the story. This includes adding in a subplot about Meg’s school life and relationship with a bully and updating Mrs. Who’s selection of quotes – even featuring one from Hamilton‘s Lin Manuel Miranda. Despite these changes, the adaptation does not lose the novel’s heart.
Unfortunately, despite the film’s beautiful message, I left the theatre feeling disappointed. The spark that was so vivid in the novel was missing. It felt hidden behind CGI overload and Oprah’s ridiculously bedazzled brows.
The biggest issue was the film’s lack of fluidity and clunkiness. Between messy scene changes, corny dialogue, unresolved characters and an overwhelming soundtrack, I was feeling just as disoriented as Meg the first time she tessered.
Another comment could be made about filming a considerable chunk of the film in close-ups of the characters. This decision felt distracting. Instead of focusing on Meg’s quest between the light and the dark, I was focusing on how I could make glitter eyeshadow work for myself and why Disney didn’t create a Wrinkle in Time inspired makeup line.
Wrinkle in Time truly wanted to expand your imagination, and I commend DuVernay for tackling this ambitious film. I wanted to buy in. I wanted to love it. I wanted to be a warrior.
Unfortunately, I have a suspicion that those who claimed Wrinkle in Time was unfilmable, were correct.
Final Thoughts: Although visually stunning and full of heart, Wrinkle in Time is disjointed and disappointing.