Last week, all I could think about was finally seeing Ava Duvernay’s latest directorial feat, A Wrinkle in Time. Despite the mixed coverage of the film, nothing was going to diminish my eagerness. Adapted from the classic novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the film follows Meg Murry, portrayed by Storm Reid, as she travels throughout the universe to find her scientist father with the help of her brother, Charles Wallace, friend, Calvin, and the extraordinary Mrs., Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Who, played by Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling, respectively. My expectations were definitely high, but DuVernay and company didn’t just deliver an entertaining movie–they delivered an experience.
Before jumping into bending between time and space, the film begins by establishing the strong relationship Meg has with her parents, particularly her father. Mr. and Mrs. Murry, played by Chris Pine and, my favorite, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, are scientists who are experimenting to find that it is possible to bend between space and time, despite being mocked by their fellow scientists. After unintentionally discovering the frequency while admiring his wife and new adoptive baby boy, Mr. Murry suddenly disappears, presumably into the folds of the universe. His disappearance leads the film to the present to find a depressed, high-school Meg and adorable, six-year-old Charles Wallace. The film did a great job in showing how her father’s absence without explanation, combined with unfriendly classmates, has taken a toll on Meg’s self-esteem. DuVernay’s film struggles, in the beginning, by not introducing key characters, like Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit and Meg’s friend, Calvin, effectively. The brilliant Charles Wallace alludes that someone is coming but it wasn’t totally clear what he meant or how he came to know Mrs. Whatsit, even if it was imaginary. I was tuned in, but I was a bit confused, especially having not read the book.
Once the story ventures away from the earthly universe with the three Mrs., magical adventure ensues. The film becomes an Adventureland that every kid has dreamed about and is madly engaging. When Meg and her companions are discovering the unknown universe and seeing their wild imaginations circling in their minds, it’s easy to go back into my childlike mindset and imagine being in the film’s magical universe myself. Every moment, even when silent, was so exciting I didn’t want it to end. With the wild colors and mystical setting, the film takes the characters on a ride that thrills viewers to be a part of. The story may dip at times but the movie never stops being entertaining. Bottomline, this is an insanely fun movie that can’t help but make you smile.
What makes this incredibly imaginative film so fun to watch, besides the stunning visuals, is the characters and the actors who portray them. Meg is the film’s star and newcomer, Storm Reid rises to the occasion. Throughout the film, Reid allows the audience to become more confident with her character every step of the way, even when she loses hope. Without a doubt, I was most excited to see Oprah, Witherspoon, and Kaling as the three mystical beings and the icons didn’t disappoint. It was sort of hysterical to see Kaling barely speak as Mrs. Who, only speaking in quotations, since the star is known for roles that require a lot of quick-fire dialogue. Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit served as the character who brings the most fun to the story, constantly teasing Meg, adoring Charles Wallace, and shaping shifting into a cool, flying creature, and, fortunately, the actress is just as mesmerizing as she always is. With the character’s inspiring dialogue, Oprah was the perfect person to play Mrs. Which. Who else am I going to listen to when they tell me to be a warrior? Even when his character takes a dark turn, Deric McCabe often steals the spotlight as the genius and silly Charles Wallace. Pine was incredible as Meg’s father, but, although this is a bit biased, I wish I could have seen more of Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry. The amount of sheer emotion that comes across her face in her scene with Mrs. Whatsit was so breathtaking I wanted to see more.
Disney’s latest film is so important because of what it offers to all audiences. Now, little black and brown girls and boys can see themselves on screen, especially in a fantasy film. Little girls can see that their hair is beautiful. Kids can see that being sad or depressed doesn’t make them crazy. That it’s okay to dream big. They can see that their stories, even if fictional, matter too.
Through my eyes,