A Wrinkle in Time

Jacob Richardson | 11/04/2018

A Wrinkle In Time is ambitious. It doesn’t make an ounce of sense and is messier than a china shop after the proverbial bull, but still… it’s bloody ambitious.

After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg (Storm Reid), her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), and her friend Calvin (Levi Miller) into space in order to find him.

 

Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time has innumerable enjoyable and entrancing elements. Firstly, it is an undeniably beautiful picture. Whether it’s astounding set design, beautiful geometrics, incredibly CGI-work or close up explosions of light, the visuals of this piece are extraordinary.

 

The acting, too, is often brilliant. In particular, Chris Pine is tremendous as Mr. Murray. Oprah is suitably magnificent as Mrs. Which, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as a brilliant scientist and mother is also excellent. Even amongst the younger cast, both Reid and Miller are great; particularly impressive given some of the schmaltzy, underworked dialogue they have to deal with.

 

It’s a shame, then, that a couple of ridiculous performances mar what otherwise could have been a collectively good acting performance. Reese Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit is nigh on impossible to get around; she is frustratingly dismissive, and going for some sort of eclectic vibe that never really gels with her performance. It’s coupled with the young McCabe’s performance as Charles Wallace, which is grating at every turn. His arc also leads him to have to deliver some split personality moments that, as the young actor that he is, he simply cannot pull off.

 

It’s a shame also that even if these performers had given Oscar worthy performances, it would have been for naught, because A Wrinkle In Time is just too messy. Sloppily put together, it runs long in all the places it shouldn’t, and never succeeds in raising the heart rate. It’s particularly frustrating given the ambition of the project; there are tremendous elements here. But DuVernay can’t bring them all into line in a cohesive tale that generates real emotion, and what we’re left with is a derelict shell of a film; a beautiful spark of wasted potential in the dark machinery of space.

Conclusion

A Wrinkle In Time is terrible; but it’s terrible with potential. One wishes that it could be recut and re-released, because there is intrigue a plenty here; just not enough competent direction to turn it into a good film.