Movie Review: A Wrinkle in Time

I was asked, tasked, or volunteered depending on one’s point of view, to do a review on, “A Wrinkle in Time,” the Disney film directed by Ava DuVernay. I knew that I (a middle-aged black male) wasn’t part of the target audience for the film, based on a Young Adult fiction book targeting girls written by Madeleine L’Engle, originally published in 1962. Somehow, beyond my knowledge, young girls have been reading her book and imagining themselves in fantastical worlds, awaiting this book to one day be converted to film.

Having never been a young girl, I more or less kidnapped my 5-year-old granddaughter (Jordin) and her 7-year-old cousin (Sierra) so that I could get their reactions and interview them after the film. They didn’t come cheaply, they negotiated for candy, slushee’s and popcorn, but sometimes there’s a cost to doing business.

I should say if you’re going to bring a child as young as five, be sure she’s tough because there are some scary parts that could cause a sensitive child to lose it. Jordin is my movie running buddy and knowing she handled Wonder Woman, Spider-Man Homecoming, Black Panther and the Avengers movies. I was sure she could deal.

Much of the hype about the movie is related to Ava DuVernay being the first black female director to helm a mainstream movie from a major studio with a big budget. Ava is full of firsts being the first African-American female director to win a nomination for a Golden Globe for “Selma.” The film also won nominations for Best Picture and Original Song. The question was, how would she do on this film, particularly in the aftermath of “Black Panther” and the inevitable comparisons.

Truthfully, there is almost no basis by which to make a direct comparison of the films. Black Panther was perhaps the blackest movie ever made with a black director and cast with a couple minor exceptions. There was a black protagonist and antagonist, the themes were so black that they may even have escaped the white producers that approved the film. A Wrinkle in Time is as non-black a movie as could be, even with a few major characters that happened to be black. While widely diverse, the movie is simply a story with no racial overtones. The one area where you can judge them is competence, and “Wrinkle” did not disappoint.

My guest critics (Jordin and Sierra) will let you know at any time if a movie is boring or too long. Those indications never came. Jordin has seen Wakanda, Asgard, and the darkest reaches of the universe on film yet several scenes generated audible oohs and aahs. The cinematography and acting were outstanding and in the only thing close to a spoiler I’ll mention, Oprah sure knows how to make an entrance. There are some general themes of good vs. evil, the power of love and the beauty of self. One of the highlights of the film is that a generation of black girls will have a cinematic hero that looks like them with Storm Reid portraying Meg Murry, and whose faults were a part of what made her strong.

I read about a dozen reviews on the film before attending which were all over the place. I submit to those who found flaws with the story and in one case the use of the soundtrack. I suggest you should have gone with young girls. My crew had a ball.

After we saw Wonder Woman, I witnessed Jordin break out into a dance as the credits were rolling. She did the same at Spider-Man and is reported to have done so at Black Panther. I waited to see how she’d react at the end of this film? She clapped, and then broke out into what can only be described as the Jordin dance. Her sure sign of approval.

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William Spivey

William Spivey

I write about politics, history, education, and race. Follow me at williamfspivey.com and support me at https://ko-fi.com/williamfspivey0680

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