A Wrinkle in Time is a film that has received many negative reviews, both from critics and audience members. The expectations for this film were immense but sadly the film did disappoint, and here’s why.
The film centres on the personal journey of protagonist Meg as she learns to deal with her insecurities and the disappearance of her father. This personal journey takes place through the crazy adventure that Meg embarks upon along with her brother, Charles Wallace and friend, Calvin. The kids are guided to Meg’s father by the 3-eccentric witch-like beings played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. The costume design in the film is amazing and can be seen through the extravagance of these witches. Oprah’s character, Mrs Which, is a brilliant character mostly because she possesses many traits of her real personality. Mrs Which is a guiding beacon of wisdom and offers words of inspiration which are indeed Oprah’s core traits.
Many audience members looked forward to the realisation of the science-fiction and fantasy elements of the novel on which it is based, but the film instead devotes most of its attention to the battle Meg faces when tackling her inner demons and addressing her own self-worth. Many audience members have cited their disappointment at the film not being true to its original novel. The medium of science fiction is utilised within the movie to inspire self-worth within the protagonist Meg – time travel forces her to confront her own personal demons in order to be ‘one with the universe’ and travel successfully. Many aspects of this movie are very cliché in terms of plot. The young, insecure preteen going on a fantastical journey resulting in her finding herself. This can be a successful plot formula when executed well, which in the case of this film is not quite the case.
Director, Ava DuVernay, is acclaimed for her role in the brilliant film, Selma, however, she has been criticised hugely for rousing disappointment among her audience. One of the downfalls of this movie is that there is far too much focus on the fantastical visuals. Within the film, the psychedelic colours and beautiful locations are indeed awe-inspiring but often the characters arrive in different places with no context, which it seems could easily have been resolved.
Moreover, these purely aesthetic effects are way overused in the film and are not linked to aspects of the plot very well which makes the film very disjointed in parts. There is nothing wrong with over the top visuals and sound as long as they don’t dominate over the plot and acting within the film. Essentially, it is for these reasons that I’d recommend watching the movie with a child or teen because the film captures a particular childlike wonder and perhaps should be watched with that in mind, not with the hope of viewing an incredible sci-fi epic which it certainly is not. Also, the film is deeply inspiring in terms of the message it imparts on the teen viewers, that it is okay to be yourself and individuality should be celebrated.
Illustration by Phoebe Rose Logan