Here’s What Critics Are Saying About the ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Adaptation

Posted on March 8, 2018 by

The film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved classic A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters on March 9, and critics are are already comparing and contrasting the movie to the book, with mixed results. We’ve collected a selection of the A Wrinkle in Time movie reviews so fans will know what to expect before they see the movie. Take a look at what the critics are saying below!

The New Yorker: “Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation… catches the sense of exhilaration and wonder that arises from the story’s elements of fantasy. She builds the entire movie around a core of dramatic intensity that differs significantly from that of the novel but nonetheless gives rise to several emblematic images (many quite simple and detached from the realm of intergalactic adventure) that resonate beyond the confines of the story.”

Los Angeles Times: “Sincerity alone doesn’t make a film worth seeing, but the sincerity of A Wrinkle in Time is very much something to see. No less than the novel, this fearlessly emotional picture builds to a bracing, unapologetically sentimental celebration of the power of love.”

Chicago Tribune: “It has flashes of inspiration and raw emotion, and beyond the famous faces in the cast, Disney’s Wrinkle in Time is graced with a wonderful, natural Meg courtesy of the young actress Storm Reid. Now 14, she’s easy and versatile screen company. The movie around her is a little frustrating and rhythmically stodgy, however, partly for reasons inherent in bringing tricky, elusive material to a different medium.”

A Wrinkle in Time movie

Rolling Stone: “It’s worth seeing just to bask in a film that does ask for inclusion on such a grand scale, that does score points both subtle and not-so-subtle (“I’ve never seen the point of fences,” notes Whatsit, and the subtext is understood), that does question why the province of tentpoles belongs to one group and not every group. What she brings to the party is invaluable. And what is on screen is a singular adaptation that stumbles more than you wish it would. If you can embrace that and forget the title’s baggage, this dark, stormy ride may make up for it in sheer out-thereness. Every generation gets The NeverEnding Story it deserves. This one may very well be ours.”

Daily Beast: “With bold, bright colors, magically imagined worlds, and, sure, a touch of heavy-handedness, too, DuVernay and A Wrinkle in Time set out to create a new generation of warriors. At that, it succeeds.”

Black Girl Nerds: “Is A Wrinkle In Time a perfect film? No, it is not — but what the movie provides is a broad perspective through a series of whimsical events about light fighting darkness and love being the best weapon wielded against evil. It may not get there in a perfectly wrapped bow, but it tells the story in a way that as a fan I can appreciate — and as a critic, I can also respect. I smiled throughout this entire film because it gave me a sense of joy and, just for a few moments, I was able to escape and feel enamored by all of the beauty on screen. Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time will resonate the most with kids, but adults (like myself) will value and appreciate it just the same.”

NPR: “As you might expect from a pricey Disney fantasy that takes place on different planets and in different dimensions, it’s beautiful to look at, with an intentionally elevated unreality that helps gloss over the imperfections of computer animation. Colors rise and fall unendingly, not only in fantasy lands of mystifying creatures, but also on beaches and in front yards that are not as they seem. And in one late sequence, the film’s commitment to Meg’s visual ordinariness — filming and dressing her as a real junior-high girl of the type we’ve been told she is — pays off richly in her moment of freedom.”

Slate: “Watching A Wrinkle in Time unfold, I had to keep checking myself, wondering if perhaps the reason the film wasn’t working for me was because I’m not its target audience — a young adult. Indeed, the film leans heavily into the perspectives of its youthful protagonists, to the point where at times it feels like it were actually the fantasy of a 14-year-old kid.”

AV Club: “A Wrinkle in Time… has plenty of spectacle: Far-off planets, elaborately costumed and braided movie stars (and moguls), and some light universe-saving. But it also has the acknowledgement that its young heroine, Meg Murry (Storm Reid), doesn’t always like herself very much. It’s a startling admission that packs more punch than the extensive, impressive special effects.”

The New York Times: “The movie adaptation… has been a long time coming, and it arrives in theaters buoyed by and burdened with expectations. It is the first $100 million movie directed by an African-American woman, and the diversity of its cast is both a welcome innovation and the declaration of a new norm. This is how movies should look from now on, which is to say how they should have looked all along. Fans of the book and admirers of Ms. DuVernay’s work — I include myself in both groups — can breathe a sigh of relief, and some may also find that their breath has been taken away.”

A Wrinkle in Time film

Den of Geek: “As a family film geared towards kids and young adults, A Wrinkle in Time has an emphasis on the emotionality of teenagehood in ways that aren’t usually seen in live-action, big budget genre fare. Meg is a kid who is in immense pain, and this is as much a coming-of-age parable as it is a science fiction adventure, perhaps more so. Ostensibly, this movie is about Meg’s search for her father, but really it is about her search for herself. ”

Forbes: “While it is an unquestionable moral good, it is also, as a movie, a heartbreaking disappointment. A Wrinkle in Time is the very definition of a noble failure. It looks great and features a cast to die for, but it lurches from one awkwardly-staged episodic moment to the next, with little in the way of tension, urgency or defined stakes.”

Refinery29: “There will be naysayers, of course, as there are with all films based on stories and characters we imagined as a child. But in this case, change is good. Regardless of how you feel about this particular film when you leave the theater, it has done something remarkable: DuVernay has opened the door for kids who have been erased from popular culture to see themselves represented onscreen.”

The Village Voice: “I’ll get this out of the way: I haven’t read Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved science-fiction adventure novel A Wrinkle in Time, but I have seen Ava DuVernay’s heart-on-its-sleeve adaptation. No doubt there will be those who compare and contrast the book and the film, as L’Engle’s words have touched the childhoods of so many, but I’m going in fresh. And while I cannot fold time and return to my youth to experience what it would be like to find comfort in the fictions of a woman who deeply understood children’s fears and insecurities, I can say that as an adult, I was transported by DuVernay’s adaptation to the mind-set of my girlhood — embarrassing insecurities and all. This is not a cynic’s film. It is, instead, unabashedly emotional.”

Chicago Sun-Times: “Movie magic is an elusive thing. A Wrinkle in Time is a bold film that takes big chances from start to finish, in a courageous effort to be something special. (You’re not hedging your bets when Oprah Winfrey is playing a literally large-than-life entity with bejeweled eyebrows and crazy hair.) But for all its scenes of characters flying and soaring and zooming here and there, it never really takes off.”

The Wrap: “Awash in bold colors, bright patterns, and ebullient kids, director Ava DuVernay’s new take on A Wrinkle in Time dazzles its way across time and space even if it doesn’t quite stick the landing. A psychedelic journey for six-year-olds of all ages, this big-screen adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel offers trippy delights without defying the novel’s ‘unfilmable’ reputation.”

CNN: “Kids saving the world is among literature’s more durable ideas, and there’s been a whole lot of that since A Wrinkle in Time first published in 1962. Yet director Ava DuVernay’s splashy adaptation seldom conjures the magic to which this big-screen exercise aspires — not a complete waste of time, certainly, but too mundane to provide a consistently good one.”

Marie Claire: “Because of this film, my daughter will never question that she can be strong (even in her most vulnerable moments) and, more importantly, she’ll never question whether or not she’s meant to be the hero of her own story. A Wrinkle in Time has given children the gift of inclusivity, where nothing — not their gender, not their family history, not their hometown, and not their skin color — is a limitation to who they can become.”

Entertainment Weekly: “A Wrinkle in Time hits that unfortunate un-sweet spot common to big-budget science-fiction/fantasy, where the spectacle feels more summarized than experienced…. Almost nothing works, but there are bursts of real camp energy.”

The Hollywood Reporter: “Only the faintest glimmers of genuine, earned emotion pierce through the layers of intense calculation that encumber Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time. Disney’s lavish adaptation… may provide enough distractions to keep kids in the lowest double-digits age range interested.”

Variety: “Let this be a warning: Keep your expectations in check, and you might be pleasantly surprised. Despite such bold choices as casting Oprah Winfrey as an all-wise celestial being and rejecting the antiquated assumption that the lead characters ought to be white, A Wrinkle in Time is wildly uneven, weirdly suspense-less, and tonally all over the place, relying on wall-to-wall music to supply the missing emotional connection and trowel over huge plot holes.”

Collider: “There’s so much to like about Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time. It’s the rare family adventure movie with a young African-American girl in the lead role. It puts a premium on diversity. It’s unafraid to earnestly proclaim that love can drive out darkness. And yet it also carries the burdens of trying to turn its source material, Madeleine L’Engle 1962 award-winning novel, into a regular feature. The result is a film that always feels like it’s taking two steps back for every step forward.”

The Guardian: “The film is tentative and over-protective, as though it’s terrified that a story empowering kids to help good battle evil could give someone a nightmare. It reduces the whole universe to one girl’s self-esteem.”

Us Weekly: “Director Ava DuVernay (Selma, The 13th) took this classic story and, in a terribly misguided decision, spun it in 2018 wash cycle. Surely her well-intended goal was to empower impressionable girls. The disappointing result is a nonsensical effort that tries to do much and flails in the process. Instead of a seamless visual prism of wonder and discovery, the film is divided into a series of clunky set pieces, each one wrapped up in a heavy-handed morality lesson.”

Business Insider: “The good thing about A Wrinkle in Time is it has an extremely powerful message for kids. It features a strong family structure, encourages you to love the qualities that make you unique, and has a diverse cast. At the very least, DuVernay delivers a story that will speak to all kinds of young people.”

Do you plan to see the new adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time? Share in the comments!


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