“A Wrinkle in Time:” Mixed Reviews

Film begs the question of importance over quality

Samantha DeNinno, Assistant Entertainment Editor

Tip #1 for those wishing to see “A Wrinkle in Time”: know that it is an abashed children’s film. Its themes are simple and easy to digest and it dazzles in its colors and technical tricks. It was adorable to watch the little girl next to me reach up to touch the color-changing flowers when they floated across the 3D screen.

It is fair to say that “A Wrinkle in Time,” an adaptation of the famous children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle, has had a lot of pre-release hype. Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma,” “13th”) became the first black woman to receive a budget of over $10 million for a live-action film. The cast includes stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Zach Galifianakis, Michael Pena, Bellamy Young and David Oyelowo with the stunning newcomers, Storm Reid, Levi Miller and Deric McCabe. It was seemingly destined for greatness. However, since its release, it has received many mixed reviews.

And I can see where they are coming from. The film is rushed and abundant with plot holes. Personally, I have never read the book but I could almost sense that there were a lot of things missing from the screen adaptation. Inclusion of Bellamy Young’s and Michael Pena’s characters were blink-and-you-may-miss scenes and coupled with a sense that they were once bigger presences on the pages. The plot moves through different planets and scenes very quickly, creating the illusion that the film itself is shorter than its 109 minute runtime, and perhaps too short for certain emotional arcs. There was potential, but it might have gotten lost in the fantastical worlds, big budget and multiple possible storylines left untied — understandable when the book they set out to adapt was largely deemed unfilmable.

This is not to say that the film should be written off. “A Wrinkle in Time,” despite its faults, is a culturally powerful film with strong young actors. To watch Storm Reid’s Meg Murry, a young biracial girl with glasses and natural hair, learn to love herself and accept love from others was tear-jerking to watch. You could feel the cultural importance in the room. While for some, the messages could have been too obvious and prevalent, I argue differently for the sake of absorption in the subconscious minds of children. I will forever remember the goosebumps-inducing moment when she screamed, “I deserve to be loved!” The diversity of the cast and the message of abundant power within yourself perhaps makes up for the film’s faults.

Which brings me to this point: maybe it did not have to be a perfect film. Sitting in a room full of young children watching this film, watching the messages and  diversity play across the screen, I knew that this would be important to these kids. They would pick something up from this. There is a confidence in this film that despite everything makes it irresistibly enjoyable and sparks your own curiosity. It has succeeded with children as evidenced by the little girl that sat next to me exclaiming, “That was the best movie ever!”

Across the board, opinions differ. Depending on your age, viewpoint or experience with books, your opinions on the film will be different. It’s up to you to decide.