Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time

Dana Lee, Social Media Editor

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Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is considered to be one of the most iconic science fantasy novels of all time. The story follows the adventures of a high school girl named Meg Murry, who is transported on a journey through time and space in search of her father, a brilliant scientist named Alex Murray. Along with her genius younger brother, Charles Wallace, and her close friend Calvin O’Keefe, she enlists the help of the supernatural beings Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which to eventually free her father from a dark evil force in the universe. The novel contains quite a few advanced scientific theories, as well as some mature themes. The timeless coming of age story has won many famous awards, including the Newbery Medal, the Sequoyah Book Award, and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.
Since being published in 1962, the classic novel has been made into countless adaptations, including not one, but two blockbuster movies. The very first movie was made back in 2003, under director John Kent Harrison and the production of Walt Disney Television. However, this film received generally negative reviews from movie critics, and even from the author herself. When asked by Newsweek if she had seen the film, L’Engle replied “I have glimpsed it… I expected it to be bad, and it is.” Due to the lacking nature of the very first film, fans of the novel called for a new, better movie to be released.

Courtesy of Melissa Hilier via Flickr. From left to right – Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Storm Reid, Ava DuVernay, and Sean Bailey at a live action presentation of A Wrinkle in Time.

Their calls for a remake were finally answered on March 9, 2018, when another A Wrinkle in Time movie was released in American theaters in Disney Digital 3-D, Real D 3D, and IMAX. This version was directed by Ava DuVernay and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, and features a star-studded cast – including film stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, Storm Reid, Zach Galifianakis, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. As of April 1, 2018, A Wrinkle in Time has made $84.4 million dollars in the United States and Canada, and $105.6 million dollars worldwide.
There are plenty of reasons why people should support this film. A Wrinkle in Time undoubtedly supports female diversity and empowerment. With a budget of over $100 million dollars, the film made history as the first live action film that was directed by a woman of color. Many of the central characters are also played by women of color, which the New York Times’ film critics have called “a welcome innovation and the declaration of a new norm.” “This is how movies should look from now on, which is to say how they should have looked all along,” the New York Times states. The main character, Meg Murray, is played by Storm Reid, an African-American actress. She wanted this role because she knew the impact that it would have on girls who were not used to viewing representations of themselves on the big screen. In an interview with the New York Times, Reid claimed “I do a feel a sense of responsibility, like that I have to keep them uplifted and I have to keep inspiring them.” When asked about the film’s diversity, Oprah Winfrey, who plays Mrs. Which in the movie, stated that “to be a brown-skinned girl of any race throughout the world, looking up on that screen and seeing Storm, I think that is a capital A, capital W, E, some, AWESOME, experience.”
Some critics, however, have slammed the film for not being true to the original novel. Some of the initial characters in the book, including Meg and Charles’s twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, unfortunately did not make it into the movie. The movie also included some new characters that were not in the novel, such as a mean girl named Veronica Kiley. Sadly, due to the length of the film, many important scenes in the book, as well as the explanations behind the scientific theories, had to be cut out of the movie.
Despite the criticism, A Wrinkle in Time has so far been a success. It tastefully represents the original novel in the way that the 2003 version of the film could not.