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A Wrinkle in Time

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Let me save you some reading: A Wrinkle In Time 2018 is an incomprehensible mess, and if you’re a fan of the book, go re-read the book. We all had high hopes for this film and in days since I’ve screened it, I’ve thought about how I was going to write up this review, but the mere thought of everyone’s aspirations effectively flushed just made me angry.

Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a tween with an attitude problem. Her brilliant scientist father (Chris Pine) is missing, she’s angry all of the time, and she’s not popular.  One night, her little brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe)  – remember this name as you’ll be screaming it in your sleep – lets in a strange woman, Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and the next day they grab a neighbor boy (Levi Miller) go on an adventure to find the missing Dr. Murry on the other side of the universe. More strangers Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) tag along, and it turns into a field trip using interdimensional portals. Mrs. Which is inexplicably a huge towering thing in this movie, probably because she got top billing, but who knows why – since the top billing should have been the lead actor  – Storm Reid. Why the Mrs Ws are married, to who, and why they are out unaccompanied in the universe by their husbands are never answered, but as the original book was written in 1962, questions like that were never asked in polite company.

They go to a planet. They go to another planet, the Happy Medium is a guy, Meg is Sad, they’re separated, CHARLES!  WALLACE! becomes a jerk, weird stuff happens, several of the book’s themes are merged, conflated, beaten with a stick and then forgotten, but the movie ends with everyone living happily ever after.

It literally happens that fast and it’s a mess.

All of the beautiful things you were expecting to see from Madeline L’Engle’s Newberry Award-winning novel are not here. Meg isn’t portrayed as broken by her father’s disappearance, so much as she uses it to get away with being a brat, and she’s insufferable. She’s constantly put down by Mrs. Whatsit, CHARLES!  WALLACE! treats her like a brain-damaged pet project, and honestly, if this child is being tasked to save the universe, we’re all doomed. From what I remember from the novel I read as a kid, I felt connected to Meg, and maybe my 12-year-old-self might still find a connection, but my 45-year-old-self thinks Meg needs to find a better outlet for her anger.

In the end though, for all of this movies’ faults, I blame the director, Ava DuVernay. She’s a documentarian, and that’s obvious in the extreme close-ups, the awkward acting and complete lack of transitional scenes. Stuff just happens, and for a kids’ movie supposedly to be brimming with Black! Girl! Power! assuming your audience won’t question the painful leaps in logic is insulting. Movies have actors and those actors require the firm hand of a competent director, especially in an adaptation of such an iconic novel. A Wrinkle In Time did not have a competent director, and I think we can stop pretending Oprah knows what’s she’s doing.

This movie made me mad. I expect better from Oprah, and Disney, and Ava, and I’m sorry that Storm Reid, who not only has an awesome name but great potential, got saddled with this muddled trainwreck of a classic book. If as a screenwriter and director, you’re afraid of the overtly Christian themes in a beloved novel, assuming they won’t be missed in a big screen adaptation is ignorant and insulting. There are symbolic themes and messages that are absent and it’s obvious and painful and I’m trying to save you from my fate.

There are better movies out there. If you need to experience something cinematic, get the audio version, go into a dark room and experience the novel all over again.

A Wrinkle In Time (2018) is rated PG for bullying, children falling from the sky, children launched over cliffs, back sass, forced empathy for people who are jerks, and an overall mess that will just leave you angry at the world.

A Wrinkle in Time is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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