If you were entranced by ‘A Wrinkle In Time’, Madeleine L’Engle’s wonderful science fiction novel when you read it in middle school, then, by all means, head to the theater to see the new soaring version on screen.
Wouldn’t you love to travel through space and time to beautiful, magical worlds? Who wouldn’t. Meg Murry’s scientist father, played by the handsome Chris Pine, couldn’t resist that possibility. And that’s what got him in trouble. When we open on the new Wrinkle In Time film, directed by the uber talented Ava DuVernay, Dr. Alexander Murry, a brilliant physicist is avidly researching the space/time continuum (just like Doc Brown in Back To The Future), trying to discover how to travel quickly through the vastness of the universe.
But the one thing he loves more than his work is his wife — equally brilliant scientist (mathematician, Dr. Kate Murry), played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and his young children, Meg and Charles Wallace. He infuses his love for physics into Meg and Charles, but then he risks all when he makes a huge breakthrough — discovering “wrinkles” in time — which allow humans to transport through the universe, and he goes for it.
Now, as the film kicks into gear, it’s four years later. Dr. Murray has disappeared without a trace, and Meg is a miserable young teen who is getting bullied at school by mean girls, while she desperately misses her hero dad. Every teen who feels like an awkward misunderstood outsider will identify with Meg, played winningly by Storm Reid. She’s been so beaten down by circumstances, that even when “magical” women — Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey) — appear in the most elaborate and ever-changing costumes and makeup, she resists their urges to find her father. Her genius younger brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), is all in, as is a cute new guy friend, Calvin (Levi Miller), but Meg is afraid to “tesser” as it’s called, to travel through several dimensions across space, in a quest to find her father.
The story of A Wrinkle In Time is as much about Meg’s journey to find her strength, her belief in herself and in the power of love, as it is about visiting beautiful, fantastical and then frightening planets. While, I would have loved some more explanation from one of Dr. Murrys about how the physics of “wrinkles in time” work, the science itself, turns out to be irrelevant. What we do learn is that there are magical beings and magic in the universe and that there is also terrifying, growing evil that has infected every planet and billions of people in the universe, including on Earth. It’s what causes anger, jealousy, insecurity, hate and envy — all of which feels very relevant today.
But there is also the power of love. Meg, both Dr. Murrys and all their family have it. Now, we have to wait for the sequel to see just how far that power can take them, even beyond the boundaries of the original book.