I’m not remotely familiar with the source material, but I am a fan of Ava DuVernay so I thought I’d give A Wrinkle in Time a shot. I can cut it some slack given that it’s a movie targeted to a different demographic than mine, but given my penchant for superheroes and cartoons, I really can’t forgive that much. This movie is weak, across all levels. The story doesn’t flow or make any sense, the acting is forced with each of the actors seemingly in different movies, the dialogue stilted, and the visuals might be interesting, but untethered from reality and thus feel like a cartoon backdrop.
Teenage Meg (Storm Reid) is the withdrawn bookish type that is the central figure for most teen figures in these type of movies. She is bullied at school, annoyed by her little brother, Charles Wallace (the manic Deric McCabe), and misses her father (Chris Pine), who went missing 4 years prior. For reasons that only seem to matter to move the plot forward, three spirits? Witches? I don’t really know what they are and the movie doesn’t really care. These ladies (Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, and Oprah Winfrey) drive the plot for the first part of the movie and then disappear for a while because reasons? Plot? Again, it doesn’t seem to matter. Only Witherspoon seems to be having any fun, and Winfrey doesn’t even feel like she’s in the same green-screened room as the others.
Zach Galifinakis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Michael Pena offer some pointless cameos. McCabe’s character takes a weird turn that is almost interesting. Continuity errors abound. There’s a sentimental climax that is neither heartfelt nor earned. Reid is a capable actress, and can certainly carry a movie like this, were it better made.
I don’t know the movie requires and expects knowledge of the book, or if the failing is in the original text. All I can say is this was a slog to sit through but thankfully it ends rather abruptly. Hopefully, this doesn’t tarnish DuVernay’s rep. Hollywood forgives men their missteps easier than women, but I’m looking forward to her bouncing back with The New Gods.
My Grade – D