I had never heard of A Wrinkle in Time before it was announced that Ava DuVernay (amazing director and massive inspiration) would be directing the adaptation, working with Disney. I then found it’s quite a well-known book but I’m unsure if that’s more so in America than the UK. I was super excited about the film and figured I may as well read the book before watching it because it sounded like quite an interesting concept. I finished the book in February and got chance to watch the adaptation a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a little chatty review of both the book and the film!
A Wrinkle in Time is a children’s book by Madeleine L’Engle. We follow protagonist Meg Murry, a very stubborn but loving girl. Her father has been missing for a few years and the family don’t know why. Her mum and dad are both scientists and believe it is possible to travel through space and time. With the help of three celestial beings, Meg, her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and their new friend Calvin, set out in the universe to try and find him.
I enjoyed the book but I wouldn’t say it is something I am super interested in reading more of – there are other books with the Murry family in but I’m not a huge fan of the writing style. The book is quite formally written, especially in terms of the dialogue. It was written in the early 1960s and it is also set in this time too. I knew this and wasn’t expecting the dialogue to be the same as children will speak nowadays, but I do think it was a little too formal and I didn’t find it very believable.
The story however is really wonderful. It is complex for a childrens book, but still understandable. It champions differences in people and that everyone has a talent that is useful, even if it is seen as one of our faults. Meg is often impatient and can be fairly ill-tempered, but she is a really brilliant character who holds a lot of power in her hands and is stronger than she knows. I love Charles Wallace so much – he’s a very intelligent and oddly observant child. He has a very natural affinity with others, in particular Meg and their mum. He often knows what they want or what they are feeling before they know themselves.
The characters are excellent. Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which are lovable, admirable but also a little intimidating, especially for Meg. The worlds L’Engle creates are intricate and different and, although fictional, it highlights the vastness of the universe. I enjoyed so much of it, it’s mainly just the writing style I’m not a fan of.
Now to the film. After hearing quite a few people feeling underwhelmed by it, I’m happy to say I disagreed and I loved the film! It is by far one of the most beautifully shot and designed films I have seen, particularly for a film aimed mainly at children. The cinematography, set design and costumes are wonderful and fit the film really well. I love the fact the film is set in the present day rather than years ago as I think it helps with the dialogue and flexibility of characters.
The writing isn’t the best – I think some things are over explained (as they often are in kids films) and it didn’t need that. Obviously, many aspects did need explaining but not in the very clear spoken, obvious way that took from the visuals. If something is shown, we don’t need it explaining fully because we pick it up in the visual side of the storytelling – it’s what is so interesting about adaptations!
The cast were wonderful – everybody fit their roles perfectly and I can’t think of anyone better for each part. I wasn’t a huge fan of the being Mrs Whatsit transforms into when they first tesser. I think the design of the being was a little heavy handed personally, but the majority of the other planets and characters and sets, I adored.
I would definitely recommend the film, and also the book to be honest. If it’s your type of thing, definitely pick it up! The film is beautiful so it’s definitely worth a watch even just for the spectacle of it.