Watching “A Wrinkle in Time” isn’t as much fun as reading the book (which, incidentally, is one of my favorites).
But it’s entertaining and visually enchanting, with characters that will appeal to the young audience to which it is aimed.
Storm Reid stars as Meg, whose scientist father Jack (the remarkable Chris Pine) disappears. Meg, her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and her mother Dana (Gugu Mbatha-Raw, “Beauty and the Beast”) miss him, and wonder where he is. Charles Wallace hears gossip at school that another woman may be involved in his disappearance.
One night, a strange woman who calls herself Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) visits the family. Soon, two more women, Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) tell the children that they need to search for their father — his children are the only ones who can find him, it seems.
Meg’s classmate Calvin O’Keefe (Levi Miller) joins the search party, with the trio of strange beings whisking everyone on an adventure through the universe. The three women tell the children about a malevolent force called the “It” (not to be confused with the Stephen King creation) and the struggle between the Light and the Darkness.
Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) provides the audience with astounding environments in which the characters find themselves. I saw it in 3D, and I think that added to the beauty of some of these scenes, particularly the one in which chatty crimson flowers are so wondrous to behold.
I also like the way that the characters come to face their inner fears and isolation. Meg, who feels like an outcast at school, isn’t the only person being bullied, for example. And the idea of love being a force that can conquer evil is lovely — it’s as old as storytelling itself.
The sweet budding romance between Meg and Calvin is realistic and is a situation to which adolescents will relate. Because of her low self-esteem, Meg cannot seem to fathom why anyone would compliment her or think that she is special. She blossoms not only through her actions but also through her dialogue.
This is a wonderfully diverse family and ensemble. Very personal to me is the way adoption is depicted — I found this to be touching and memorable.
Also, I appreciate the fairly rare “PG” rating. Many so-called “family” movies are rated “PG-13,” with coarse humor. Not so here.
Book aficionados should take note that this is not, by any means, a literal translation of the book that is beloved by generations. I encourage viewers to let the movie stand apart on its own.
This is a science fiction/fantasy romp that will engage families. After the movie, I hope they go home and read the book for an even more engaging time together.