Summary: Three fabulous cosmic beings task two siblings (and their boring friend) to save their missing father from the embodiment of darkness.
I have been a long time fan of Ava Duvernay’s work ever since I first saw the brilliant Selma. Her incredible way of getting great performances out of actors and her choice of shots spoke to me, and I began to follow her career closely- you could probably tell I was excited that Disney was giving her the reins to adapt the classic story of A Wrinkle in Time. I was not too familiar with the novel growing up, but the trailer promised a visual spectacle by one of the most talented up and coming directors and I was so down!
I will say, I did get the visual spectacle I was hoping for. The movie is absolutely gorgeous and has a unique production design. It’s not quite science fiction but not quite fantasy either. The film’s themes focus on positive emotions and human anxieties, and the film’s locales illustrate these feelings wonderfully. My particular favorite was the planet Uriel and the flying scene that goes along with it. Of course, the costumes are so wonderfully whimsical and have very lovely details that can cater to repeat viewings. The cinematography especially frames these gorgeous set pieces and costumes beautifully, and are even used expertly in the scenes on Earth. The visuals can’t help but leave you with joy and I’m blown away by the cinematography.
Alongside great visuals is a mostly stellar cast. The two sibling leads are both believable and are able to hit those dramatic beats. Storm Reid is especially engaging, and I can’t wait to see what roles she’ll be offered next. The Misses (played by Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon) are delightful and graceful as the main characters source of encouragement and guidance. Chris Pine, although only in the film briefly, gives an exceptional performance and has real tearjerker scenes. Unfortunately, some characters were left with very little screen time. This goes especially for Michael Pena, who shows up for about five minutes only to be disposed of. The weakest link out of all of them was Levi Miller as the male love interest. His line delivery is unbearably stiff, which only accents how useless the character is. Regardless of a few duds, the cast does a great job keeping the viewer invested in the film.
Unfortunately. as much as I was enamored with the visuals and performances, the movie ends up going by way too quickly and is poorly written in certain places. I feel as though this film has been stripped clean of necessary details and scenes. The film just wants you to accept what is happening on screen without any context or world building. This is certainly not good when the film’s pace just jumps from scene to scene. Entire sequences just happen, and I am here left wondering what was their intention or meaning. Mind you, this isn’t every scene but it’s enough where it takes the enjoyment out of the film. I usually can’t stand obvious exposition, but this film desperately needed some.
However, as much as I found the film lacking in story details, the film’s themes and an emotional core made it worth seeing. I really identified with the struggle of overcoming anxieties and doubt through acceptance and the love of others. I felt Meg’s arc especially had a solid revelation that led to a very beautiful climax. There are a lot of themes focused on the experiences of middle school girls (specifically that of black girls) that was very engaging and well executed. It certainly made the film worth rewatching for me.
All in all, A Wrinkle in Time is a flawed passion project by an ambitious filmmaker. I respect the craft and emotional sincerity on display. I have certainly seen worse films that didn’t leave an impact like this one did.
Next stop! NEW GENESIS!!!