The review embargo has ended for A Wrinkle in Time, the new film adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 children’s novel. The overall consensus seems to be that it provides an amazing, visually impressive scope of different settings and worlds, but is unable to bring the emotional complexity at the heart of the story.
A Wrinkle in Time would be a very hard story to adapt, and indeed, some of the reviews complain that the movie largely consists of sci-fi exposition, much like the book does. Whether or not it still manages to work seems to depend on the viewer. The general opinion seems to be that Storm Reid, who plays protagonist Meg, has legitimate talent and manages to make her role interesting, but that this is covering for an arc that often takes a backseat to the plot, which can be both crazy but also slow and confusing.
This seems to be the main thrust of a lot of the reviews: the characters remain fairly static, and some, such as the highly advertised “witches” (played by Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Oprah Winfrey) ultimately only exist to provide exposition.
Nevertheless, many of the reviews emphasize the story’s hopeful message, as well as Reid/Meg herself as a new hero for young children. There is some indication, however, that the movie may have changed the book’s moral at least somewhat. The novel is unabashedly Christian, as a sort of liberal, science fantasy version of The Chronicles of Narnia; according to IndieWire’s David Ehrlich, this version skews more humanist. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on your particular ideology.
It remains to be seen if viewer reactions will be as mixed, but for now here is what the critics have to say.