Ava DuVernay's fantasy A Wrinkle in Time bogged down by effects

2018-05-06 00:00
 

City Press movie review

Movie: A Wrinkle in Time

Director: Ava DuVernay

Starring: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon

Once you’re over the star-studded cast (Oprah Winfrey as Mrs Which, Reese Witherspoon as Mrs Whatsit and Mindy Kaling as Mrs Who) and start to focus on the story, you’re going to be left with an uneventful landing.

It took more than 50 years to turn Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 novel, A Wrinkle in Time, into a film, and for that Disney got the talented Ava DuVernay on board.

It brings to life the story of adolescent Meg Murry (Storm Reid), who travels across dimensions to rescue her scientist father, guided by a trio of guardian angels collectively called “the Mrs”.

The story, both in the book and film, is about the meaning of being a source of light in a world in which darkness seems to flourish.

For the film to be released during Hollywood’s big Black Girl moment, helped with the excitement that led up to its release. From Hidden Figures to Girls Trip, Black Panther and now DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time, images of black women in these big-budget films has built on a positive portrayal of how society and the industry turned a blind eye to the magic of this group.

At first Meg is extremely insecure about her features, particularly her curly hair. But as the story unfolds, she comes into her own, loving her curls. This is a message that resonates powerfully with black women. However, with this movement to centre women of colour in film other questions arise, such as the profit white-owned production companies make off of the now highly marketable “black girl magic”.

While A Wrinkle in Time is visually dazzling, big-hearted and intermittently moving, it’s also wildly ambitious – to a fault. The film is a missed opportunity and, instead of the family classic I expected, it is a somewhat cheesy children’s movie. I got the impression it was trying to express a deeper meaning that unfortunately doesn’t materialise past its superficial emotional hooks.

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