A Wrinkle in Time

(DuVernay, 2018)

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Sometimes you go into a movie with high expectations, sometimes you go in with low ones, but sometimes you just clench your fists and think to yourself “please, please let this not suck.” Such is the case with Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Based on the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg, a science-loving thirteen year-old, who travels into a parallel universe to find her father. Accompanying her on the journey is her friend Calvin, her little brother Charles Wallace, and three astral travelers named Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who. Aside from the basic premise, the plot of the movie is rather confusing, and while the characters make some effort to explain the phenomena that is astral traveling, it is often not enough to understand or appreciate what is happening. The whole movie is, in its simplest form, a sci-fi road trip through a handful of different whimsical settings. However there seems to be no rhyme or reason for the characters moving from place to place. In fact, it seems as if they show up in a new location just to spew 5 minutes of expository dialogue and then depart.

The most redeeming aspect of the movie is Storm Reid’s performance as Meg. Though at times melodramatic, Reid injects some much needed emotion into a film that is otherwise pretty dull. This dullness stems from the depressing combination of nonsensical plot development and trite dialogue that is present throughout the entire film. Some of the effects are great, but some are lackluster. Some of the dialogue is funny, and some is just plain precocious (i.e. everything/anything with Charles Wallace). It’s hard to pick out exactly why this film was so bad, because so much of it was just that. I would actually recommend seeing it, just so you can have the same experience I did walking out of the theater, wondering to myself, “Was that a real movie? Did I actually just sit down and watch that? Was it all some strange fever dream, miraculously translated onto the movie screen at the AMC?” At this point, I’m still not sure. ★½

David Merkle