‘Wrinkle in Time’ emphasizes emotion, diversity

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There are some movies out there that I find almost impossible to form an opinion on. Ava DuVernay’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of them

This fantasy adventure film is brought to us by Disney and is based on the Madeleine L’Engle novel of the same name. I came into this film with no experience with the book and no idea what to expect.

The film stars Storm Reid as a young girl named Meg whose scientist father (Chris Pine) went missing four years ago. Meg is approached by three mysterious women played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey, who tell Meg that her father is trapped in another dimension. Meg is joined by her young brother, Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin as they search for her missing father through various extraterrestrial dimensions.

If the plot sounds kind of abstract, it’s because it is. The whole things feels like a kind of Narnia or Alice in Wonderland story, but with a sci-fi twist.

This film is also historically significant since it is the first movie directed by a black woman with a budget over 100 million.

Diversity is one of the highlights of the film, more than half of the main characters are played by people of color, including the lead. Additionally, the film has an emphasis on strong female characters, and the male characters are not portrayed as stereotypically masculine.

It’s a difficult film to judge because it feels like it was made to speak to young children. Not that being aimed at children is an excuse for the bad quality, but the film is very specific in what it sets out to do. It feels like a movie I probably would have loved as a kid.

The film focuses less on the scientific elements and more on the emotional stakes of the characters. The technicalities of the world are not as important as the journey the main hero is going through.

This emphasis on emotion might have been a reason why this film wasn’t received as well critically and financially. Against other blockbuster films, it feels slow and almost dull to some extent. It’s a movie where you really have to see it through the emotional mindset of a child to begin to understand what it’s trying to do.

And what it’s trying to do is very good. Against other kids films, it’s nice to see a movie that emphasizes values of diversity and understanding one’s emotions. And I did have an emotional reaction to this movie.

There are moments of silliness and levity, but the film overall is actually pretty grim. By the end of the film, Meg’s emotional journey feels earned. The film almost hits that sweet spot of good children’s media, but some weak writing and cheesy moments prevent it from truly reaching excellence.

I can see why some people don’t like this film. There are some pacing issues and the characters never become as fully realized as they should be.

But I appreciated what the film was trying to do. It was trying to be an adventure movie with a heart, and I’m glad that a movie like this exists.

I think only time will tell how “A Wrinkle in Time” is seen. If this sounds like a movie you would enjoy I would encourage you to watch it. If you’ve already decided you wouldn’t like this movie from the premise, I don’t think the film itself will change your mind.

The film is a contradiction, just like my opinion on it. “A Wrinkle in Time” may get the appreciation it deserves one day. It’s only a matter of time.

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)