I have no real nostalgia for A Wrinkle In Time, I didn’t read it as a kid. I read it when I was 22, and I didn’t really get it’s charms. I sometimes wondered if I had come to it earlier if I’d have loved it, or if I came to it later, when I got better at meeting stories on their own terms rather than my own, I would have liked it more.
Regardless, Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel was not one that meant anything to me at all, beyond, the experience of reading it one time and thinking, “huh.”
Ava Duvernay’s film version, however, won me over in it’s first five minutes. As I have stated from time to time, I’m a sucker for stories about familial love. So a movie that has a lengthy scene where a young girl sits with her parents and they tell her how they love her and that love will never ever leave her, hits me right where I like things. (And having her dad played by Best Chris, Chris Pine, well, that’s just a bonus!)
That’s how we come upon the Murrys, who’s daughter Meg, and son Charles Wallace, are two members of our space-time travelling trio in the movie. The third is Calvin, a classmates of Meg’s, who’s nursing a big bad and obvious crush on her. Well, obvious to everyone but Meg, who is kind of convinced he’s making fun of her.
Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin go off in search of Meg’s father, who has gotten lost on his five year mission to go where no man has gone before…I mean, who discovered a science magical form of space travel known as tessering, but is in fact missing. They are guided on their journey by three mysterious women, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. The Mrs.’s are played with whimsical joy by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah respectively.
This movie isn’t complicated. It’s a straightforward kiddie adventure about the power of love and faith and family, but it’s a well executed and deeply felt take on that story. Duvernay guides her actors well, particularly young Storm Reid as Meg. Meg’s not easy, she’s prickly and insecure and not entirely nice. But she’s good which is more important, and she has Oprah giving her personal pep talks, so she gets it together.
Overall, I was deeply impressed. I cried a few times. (This happens, like a lot, but the reunion between Meg and her father is incredibly emotional) It’s a visually stunning movie, that manages to transport you to the many worlds the kids stay and all of the adults that pop in do a great job without hogging up too much time and they share gracefully.
I can’t speak to how a hardcore fan of the book would react to this adaptation, I remember very little about it, but it’s quite good, on it’s own as a movie and worth seeing.