A Wrinkle in Time

Despite its best efforts, A Wrinkle in Time ends up feeling like a $100 million costume party

Film Review by Iana Murray | 07 Aug 2018
Film title: A Wrinkle In Time
Director: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Storm Reid, Reese Witherspoon, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine
Release date: 30 July
Certificate: PG

Some say A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1962 novel, is unadaptable. Bringing fantasy to the screen always has its challenges, but with material as dense as L’Engle’s, adapting this planet-hopping adventure appears to be an insurmountable hurdle. Despite its best efforts, Ava DuVernay’s ambitious blockbuster doesn’t succeed in disproving that theory.

Bespectacled pre-teen Meg (Storm Reid) is still dejected four years after the disappearance of her scientist father (Chris Pine), and her bullies are doing nothing to make her feel better. Life sucks – until Meg is face-to-face with three glittery space travellers, Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), and a giant Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). They inform Meg that her father is stranded somewhere in the universe, and offer their guidance in finding him. Meg and her unlikely companions “tesseract” from planet to planet – each one looking like something you'd see on a desktop screensaver.

A Wrinkle in Time is visually overwhelming – the costumes are extravagant and the CGI landscapes even more so. Its rainbow palette is stunningly vibrant, likely to elicit some oohs and ahs. However, there’s a sense of artificiality – its facade so polished and pristine. It's like a $100 million costume party. The plot flings to every corner of the galaxy before you have time to take a breath, and so A Wrinkle in Time never really finds its footing. Some elements don’t translate – Mrs. Who’s quotation-spouting dialogue quickly grows tiresome, and a reference to Lin Manuel Miranda is downright cringe-inducing.

When the film tones it down to focus on its characters, its beating heart comes to the forefront. The journey Meg goes through internally is more moving than the external one. Realising your self-worth doesn't require a voyage through the galaxy. It’s a message all kids should hear.


Bonus content includes behind the scenes featurette A Journey Through Time, plus deleted scenes and bloopers.