Recently, I went to the local screening of Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, and today on Theresa’s Reviews, I’m sharing my thoughts of a movie that overall was well worth seeing. With beautiful visuals and an uplifting message, it is a positive movie that families can enjoy together. Since I’m writing a review, you might find spoilers, so don’t read any further if you don’t want to hear about the plot!
A Wrinkle In Time Movie Review
Going into the movie, a few things influenced my perspective. First, I’m a big fan of the Newbery award winning book by Madeline L’Engle. From multiple times in my childhood to years ago in graduate school to just last week, I’ve read it numerous times and have fallen in love with the story of the bookish girl Meg Murray and her adventures across the universe. Next, as an educator, I was looking for the educational value that the book offers to children. Finally, since I brought my daughter to the screening, I was interested in her reaction and whether she liked it too.
A Wrinkle In Time Movie Compared To The Book
Whenever you have read a book, loved it, and read it again, especially when you were a child, those memories influence your perspective of the movie adaptation. Looking at the movie as an adaptation of an incredible book, certain parts were disappointing. Meg Murray didn’t have two older brothers, who had a small but memorable part in the book. I kept waiting for them to show up, but it appears that the filmmakers decided Meg’s family didn’t need to be its original size. This part was frustrating because the story of A Wrinkle In Time continues in five other books, with A Swiftly Tilting Planet being my favorite, and the brothers appear in these other stories. They also help develop the character of Meg as feeling lost in a big family.
When you’re watching a movie adaptation, you can expect some plot changes and for large parts to be skipped over, and that’s exactly what happens. Most of the changes didn’t affect my opinion of the movie, but my biggest disappointment was that Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace never get to the planet where they meet the fantastic creature Aunt Beast. I would have liked to see what she looked like.
Another change was that Charles Wallace is adopted, which wasn’t part of the book. Also, the characters’ appearance is described in detail in the book, but the director made some changes with the casting. In the book for example, the details of Mrs. Murray’s flaming red hair and violet eyes were parts of the original story. These details are a vivid part of my memory from reading it. Although it can be difficult to let go of what you imagine the book would be on the big screen, the cast gives a good performance in the movie and the differences do allow the movie to stand alone as a separate entity from the book.
In the dark planet Camazotz, the movie skipped my favorite part where one boy doesn’t dribble the ball the right way. That part in the book stood out to me by showing the significance of everyone there being the same. Later in the book, when they encounter the boy being punished, it shows the evil power of IT. Without this part in the movie, the darkness didn’t seem quite as powerful.
With that being said, the movie had many visually stunning moments. The luminous planet Uriel was especially vibrant. When Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) transforms into a gigantic plant creature, the visual effects are beautiful and impressive. When she flies the children around the planet, it’s a very memorable part of the movie.
Other pros of the movie are that the choice of cast was overall good. Oprah was bigger than life, warm, and inviting. Reese Witherspoon got her character just right and brought some humor to the plot. The boy who plays Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) gave a compelling performance for a child of his age.
A Wrinkle In Time Movie From An Educator’s Perspective
As an educator, I liked that the movie had a positive message about spreading kindness. From Meg Murray struggling with mean girls to her difficulty in school, children can relate to the story. The movie does play up her romance with Calvin (while not giving much background to his character), but that’s to be expected in a Hollywood movie.
Some strengths are the overarching themes about science and space travel. Meg is a strong female lead who knows physics well. However, the educational parts about physics are rushed. If you read A Wrinkle In Time with your child, it’s worth watching the movie to compare the two, but the movie does not go in depth about how the scientific ideas work. Even tessering is only briefly discussed.
While you could watch the movie to have children compare it to the book, you would have to make the STEM connections on your own.
Overall, this is a feel-good movie about a family who reunites and overcomes the odds, a girl who realizes that people are mean because of insecurities, and a father who loves his children. It teaches kindness and hope.
Watching A Wrinkle In Time With My Daughter
Although this was not my favorite Disney movie, sharing the story with my daughter, who at age 8 is too young to read the book, was a special memory. We had fun attending the screening together! She said it got scary, but that she always knew that things were going to end up okay. There’s a part where a character almost dies, but you know that everyone will be fine because that’s how family friendly movie plots usually work.
Her favorite part was when Mrs. Whatsit teases Meg Murray. To a child of this age, sarcastic humor is hilarious, so this part went over well. All in all, she said the movie was good.
About A Wrinkle In Time
From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.
Meg Murry is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is Meg’s younger brother, Charles Wallace, but she has yet to realize it for herself. Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of Mr. Murry, which has left Meg devastated and her mother broken-hearted.
Charles Wallace introduces Meg and her fellow classmate Calvin to three celestial beings (Mrs. Which, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Who) who have journeyed to Earth to help search for their father, and together they embark on their formidable quest. Travelling via a wrinkling of time and space known as tessering, they are transported to worlds beyond their imagination where they must confront a powerful evil force. To make it back home to Earth, Meg must face the darkness within herself in order to harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness rapidly enveloping the Universe.
Directed by Oscar® nominee Ava DuVernay from a screenplay by Oscar winner Jennifer Lee based upon the beloved novel by Madeleine L’Engle, “A Wrinkle in Time” stars: two-time Academy Award® nominee Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit, Emmy® nominee 2 Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Michael Peňa as Red and introducing Storm Reid as Meg Murry, with two-time Emmy winner Zach Galifianakis as The Happy Medium and Emmy nominee Chris Pine as Mr. Murry.
Produced by Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hand with Doug Merrifield serving as executive producer, the film also boasts an impressive creative team featuring some of the most talented and skilled craft persons working today, including: Tobias Schliessler, ASC as director of photography, Naomi Shohan as production designer, Oscar®-nominee Spencer Averick as film editor and two-time Academy Award®- nominee Paco Delgado as costume designer.
“A Wrinkle in Time” opens nationwide on March 9, 2018.
You may also enjoy checking out A Wrinkle In Time Activity Sheets.
Disclosure: I attended the screening for free, but it in no way influenced my opinion.