4 out of 5 Stars
I am a relative late comer to the “Wrinkle in Time” series. I never read it as a child and have only experienced it as an adult. I have been pondering what the younger me would have thought about the story and Meg because the new film asks you to go back to the time when you were 11 and 12 years old. How would I have felt as I read this story as my 11 year old self? When I read the book last year I fell in love with the story and its concepts of darkness versus light, good versus evil and, ultimately that love can win out even in the hardest times.
When I heard about this project starting up I was so excited and couldn’t wait to see it! The story is based on the timeless classic by Madeleine L’Engle and is an incredible adventure full of fantasy. I was also excited by the fact the cast chosen features some of my favorite actors in the industry. I was honored to attend an advanced screening of the movie this week. A Wrinkle in Time opens to the general public everywhere on Friday 9 March 2018!
Meg Murry, played by the talented Storm Reid, is a typical middle school student struggling with the disappearance of her father. On top of this she is uniquely gifted, insecure and feels awkward – let’s face it, middle school is tough in the best of times, and she was working under some tough circumstances. She is slow to trust and kids at school pick on her. Meg has not realized her own gifts and only really sees her faults. She is trying to work out how she fits in to the world and what her role is -nothing is making any sense to her. Meanwhile people around Meg are urging her to move on from her loss, but she knows in her heart her father is still alive.
Her parents are two world-renowned physicists and her father’s mysterious disappearance has left everyone trying to do the best they can. Before he vanished, Meg’s dad was tracking events in the cosmos when he discovered tessering – a wrinkling of time and space through which intergalactic travel is possible, however the scientific community regarded this unproven theory skeptically.
Her little brother Charles Wallace is also a gifted spirit, sees things that will be coming and understands things other do not. Charles Wallace lets Mrs. Whatsit, played by Reese Witherspoon, into their house one night where she meets Meg and their mother to let them know Mr. Murry was right and that tesseracts are real. She also lets them know she will be back and they will start their adventure very soon. From here Calvin decides to join in on the journey even though he isn’t sure what is going on. Once all of the kids are in they meet Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) who guide them along their journey to find their father and restore light to universe.
This story is really a transformative journey for Meg to learn who she is and to learn love everything about herself, even her faults. The movie shows us that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light. I loved this aspect of being able to save ourselves and those we love by simply shining our light and being ourselves. The story is full of mystery, fantasy, adventure, science, a little bit of pre-teen romance, some social commentary and spirituality sprinkled in along the way – it shows that there will always be evil in the world, but by giving people the tools to combat it we can overcome it. Meg doesn’t see herself as a warrior at the start but she grows into that roll and learns the skills she needs to save her family – by doing that she also saves the universe. Looking around the world, this is something we can see on a daily basis and there is something really wonderful about that. Evil tries to fight back but the light will just shine brighter. It is a good lesson for both girls and boys – and their parents! When times seem dark, the light will find it’s way!
The acting in the film was superb and I loved Reid, Levi Miller (Calvin) and Deric McCabe (Charles Wallace) in their roles. Oprah was amazing as always – she fully embodies Mrs. Which and I can’t think of another person who would play that role as well. I almost would have preferred the roles to be switched between Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit) and Kaling (Mrs. Who). I love Kaling’s sense of humor and she was almost too quiet for me in this film. Both of them played their roles well, but I just wasn’t as impressed with Witherspoon’s performance this time. Zach Galifiankis played a great “Happy Medium” and Michael Peña was an especially creepy “Red”.
The movie was so beautifully shot each scene was a treat! It was such a pleasure to see the many colors dancing across the screen especially on the planet Uriel – those little flowers nearly stole the show! The cinematography and the CGI used were perfectly lovely and gave the film such a wonderful fantasy and dreamy feel. You knew when you had traveled to different worlds and when you were back at their home – each planet was very distinct. It was really interesting seeing how someone else envisions the various locations compared to when you read the book. Each person comes at it from their own experiences and imagination, although I felt like Uriel was even better than I could have envisioned things. The costumes, especially for the Mrs.’s were gorgeous and futuristic and the hair and make up was also incredible.
For die-hard book fans, things will look differently than they were described by L’Engle but I felt like that was perfect. You will notice they live in what appears to be California instead of on a farm on the east coast, which means their landscape looks a bit different – there are no fields for walking or the star-gazing rock. There are 2 children in the family instead of 4 – Sandy and Dennys are not included in this movie. The family is bi-racial and Charles Wallace is adopted, which is a bit of change up. I will be perfectly honest that I loved the diversity represented in this movie, which was due in large part to the amazing director, Ava Duvernay and her vision for how she wanted to portray this story. The movie felt like a modern version of the book and for me, my family, and the friend we took with us to watch the film, it totally worked. I loved every part of the film as it reflects the society we live in more closely.
The movie is rated PG for “Thematic elements and some peril” but kids as young as 8 should do fine with this movie. There is some suspense towards the end when they are battling the “IT” which might be a little bit scary for younger viewers who are more sensitive. It can be a little intense. There were plenty of children in the theater with us and I didn’t see any tears or people walking out. My son didn’t think it was very scary, but he can handle things I can’t (I was once one of those sensitive kids!).
The adults in our group gave it a 4 out of 5 stars, as did our son. He originally felt like it was a 5 out of 5 but later decided the start of the film was a little bit slow for him – once they started their adventure he was totally into it! We highly recommend seeing “A Wrinkle in Time”!
Disney has made available some special coloring and activity sheets for you to print out at home (you can find them here!).
Disclaimer: I was given free admission to this movie. I am not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my very own. All images are used with permission – ©Disney. All rights reserved.