A WRINKLE IN TIME (PG, 109 MINS), DIRECTED BY AVA DUVERNAY
Madeleine L’Engle’s most famous novel is a perennial contender on lists of supposedly unfilmable books.
A Wrinkle in Time was published in 1962, after being rejected by thirty publishing houses. It went on to win awards and friends all over the world. As recently as 2012, it was voted the second-best children’s book of all time by American school journal readers, beaten only by Charlotte’s Web.
A Wrinkle in Time is a farreaching and fantastical thing, mixing family drama and oldfashioned adventure against a back drop of Christian teaching, theoretical science, pure fantasy and inter-dimensional travel. This film version keeps the major themes and plot-points of the book mostly intact, although it does drop L’Engle’s references to God in favour of the more wishy-washy ‘‘the light’’.
Ava DuVernay ( Selma) might not be the most obvious director in the world to bring a huge and effects-heavy fantasy to the screen. But DuVernay is a wizard at establishing credible human relationships between disparate people, and that is where this Wrinkle In Time gets its real magic and wonder from.
DuVernay and writer Jennifer Lee ( Frozen) set the story in the present day and are happy to strip away a bunch of ancillary characters to focus on the book’s central storyline.
Young Meg Murray ( 12 Years a Slave‘ s Storm Reid) still believes her scientist Dad (Chris Pine) is alive, even four years after he mysteriously vanished one dark and stormy night. Meg’s genius kid-brother Charles Wallace agrees, and somehow strikes up a friendship with three women – Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Which and Mrs Who – who might hold the key to finding him.
From that set up, DuVernay whips Wrinkle into a frenzy of fantastical landscapes, outlandish beasts and non-frightening villains. We don’t ever doubt that things will turn out alright for Meg and co. And yet, as the darkness that has taken their dad threatens to engulf the kids forever, the film