A Wrinkle in Time Adventure

Film Review: 'A Wrinkle in Time' is a New Family Classic That Will be Celebrated for Years to Come

March 7, 2018Ben MK

The powerful trio of Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey may headline director Ava DuVernay's big screen adaptation of author Madeleine L'Engle's 1962 classic, A Wrinkle in Time, but it's relative newcomer Storm Reid who steals the show.

As Meg Murry, Reid is an awkward 13-year-old who doesn't fit in at school, finds herself the target of bullies and, as a result, shuts other people out. It's been exactly four years since her father, NASA scientist Alex Murry (Chris Pine), mysteriously vanished, and not a day goes by that Meg doesn't think about him or long to see him again. Despite the love shown to her by her younger, adopted brother, articulate child genius Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and her mom, Kate (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), who's also a NASA scientist, Meg can't seem to fill that void in her heart. And it's not only beginning to take a toll on her studies, but her relationships as well.

Enter the enigmatic Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon), who Meg isn't quite sure about, but who Charles Wallace already appears to be on friendly terms with when she pays an unannounced visit to the Murry family home one night. Things get even stranger, however, once Mrs. Whatsit reveals the startling reason for her sudden appearance. For you see, not only is Alex alive, he's trapped somewhere on the other side of the universe, and Mrs. Whatsit and her equally otherworldly compatriots, Mrs. Who (Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Winfrey), are here to take Meg and Charles Wallace there to find him and bring him back.

What follows sees Meg, Charles Wallace and Meg's classmate, Calvin (Levi Miller), embarking on a journey billions of light years away, where the kids encounter even more quirky yet endearing characters, such as the Happy Medium (Zach Galifianakis), a mystic and self-described "weirdo with a beard who lives in a cave." At the same time, they also learn of the dangers that lurk in the galaxy, namely the Darkness that threatens to creep its way into every human heart, and how the three Mrs.'s are out to recruit Warriors of Light to fight the "IT" that dwells on the Darkness' home planet of Camazotz.

It's a lot to fit into a nearly-2-hour movie, not to mention a tall order to keep the story feeling grounded amid all the fantastical goings on, but DuVernay and screenwriter Jennifer Lee do an amazing job balancing the film's need for exposition with its emotional core. That said, A Wrinkle in Time absolutely would not be what it is without Reid, and the actress does not disappoint. Her performance, full of nuance beyond her years, is just what the part needs, and every emotion on her face serves to help you identify further with her character, drawing you deeper into the drama. Suffice to say, viewers will likely need tissues to survive through to the end credits.

Of course, one would be remiss not to acknowledge the fact that with a female director, a female screenwriter, and a diverse female cast, this is a film made in large part by women. Indeed, the success of A Wrinkle in Time represents an empowering step forward for gender equality and diversity in Hollywood, and what better way to take that step than with a new family classic that will be celebrated for years to come.

A Wrinkle in Time releases March 9th, 2018 from Walt Disney Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG for thematic elements and some peril. Its runtime is 1 hr. 49 min.

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