A WRIN­KLE IN TIME (PG, 109 MINS), DI­RECTED BY AVA DUVER­NAY

The Hastings Mail - - WHAT’S ON -

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

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