Here we go again, another black kid with a father that disappeared off the face of the earth.
While it may appear as though this particular circumstance is different, it is a result of a selfish reason that serves only but the father’s desire. And to a daughter that needs a father, the reasons do not matter, all she knows is that her father is not and has not been around and that truly hurts in many ways imaginable.
Adapted from Madeleine L’Engle’s classic book of the same name, A Wrinkle In Time is a story told through the life of a middle school teenage girl, Meg Murry, played by Storm Reid.
This Jim Whitaker and Catherine Hands produced and Ava DuVernay directed film looks at the nature of darkness and light and challenges the concept of traveling through the dimensions of time and space.
Meg is a typical teenager, different from the rest and struggling to fit in. She is at a mercy of bullies, who find comfort in the mockery of her pain of losing a father.
She found herself fatherless after her astrophysicist father, Dr. Alex Murry, played by Chris Pine, is held captive on a faraway planet. Dr. Alex was fixated on learning and uncovering the complexities of a time traveling phenomenon known as tessering. He wanted to quite literally ‘touch the stars’.
He is prepared to educate and show the world that it is indeed possible to travel through dimensions in an instant.
One night, following years of research with his wife and failed practicals, he finally finds a formula that works. He decides to test it himself and it works but he ultimately finds himself a prisoner on a planet that is filled with darkness and a primary objective to spread out the darkness across the universe and spilling over to earth.
Everyone thinks he is dead, including his family, until his son, Charles Wallace, played by Deric McCabe, meets three celestial beings who convince him otherwise. The celestial beings are made up of Mrs. Which, played by Oprah Winfrey, Mrs. Whatsit, played by Reese Whitherspoon and Mrs. Who played by Mindy Kaling. With their help, he convinces his sister to embark on a journey in search of their father.
Unbeknownst to Meg’s mother, Dr. Kate Murry, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the celestial beings assist Meg and Charles Wallace in their quest, with the company of Calvin, who is a school-mate and friend to Meg.
On their journey, their strengths and weaknesses are tested beyond the warnings from the celestial guides.
They are tricked and fooled into believing an illusion of a perfect world that can offer them everything they desire.
And while the plot is truly a remarkable one, placing a black teen girl with a low-self-esteem on the frontline of heroism, parts of the nuances are misplaced due to a multitude of concepts thrown in simultaneously and without complete exploration.
The celestial beings are meant to be of a higher power and granted, they are only guides but the characters lack the magic cogent enough to impress. They leave the kids to fend for themselves, which doesn’t allow their roles to add value and substance to the overall film.
The kids carried the plot through and through. We saw and felt Meg’s whirlwind of emotions, her pain of being a bullied loner who misses her father. Kids her age may even relate to her pain which manifests and leads to what is believed to be a rebellious behaviour.
Calvin’s experience of rejection from his overbearing father, who is putting so much pressure on him and disallowing him to be a teenage kid who needs to find himself, is seen through his emotions and empathy for others.
My favourite is Charles Wallace, who convincingly translated the concept of light versus dark. His transition from an intelligent and adorable kid with a beautiful spirit to a dark child ready to cloak his family and beloved earth with the wrath of darkness, was seamless.
Despite the delivery flaws, this is a film that the targeted market will enjoy and learn from.
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