‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Screenwriter On Adapting Iconic Novel

Less effort on hair, wardrobe and hugs and more on dialogue and originality, I say.


Disney’s big-screen, bigger-budget adaptation of the beloved 1963 novel by Madeleine L’Engle is worth seeing for a number of reasons, but you may not get what you’re expecting from the star-studded cast and ground-breaking director, Ava DuVernay. At times, Mindy’s message has been lost in translation. DuVernay takes full advantage of the limitless possibilities of computer effects and one wishes the movie had lessened the exposition and told the story using the images. It does seem like the source material is more problematic than her work, as well as a somewhat middling screenplay.

A Wrinkle in Time is certainly an ambitious fantasy film and it’s easy to notice Ava DuVernay’s multitude of ideas that crossed her mind when making the movie and adapting L’Engle’s text.

“She’s often like, ‘Who dat?’ to me, because I’ve been a little busy promoting this movie”, she jokingly admitted. The new-age crap quotient borders on intolerable. In the time since, Meg has gone from a bright and promising student to a bitter outcast, bullied at school alongside her equally gifted adopted brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe). During her short speech at the screening, DuVernay also made mention of a similar project, The Neverending Story, and I remembered being equally confused and charmed by that particular flick as a child and as an adult.

The three astral travelers-Mrs. Who (Kaling) and Mrs.

“It’s so fantastic to have so much representation and inclusion within our film, not only within the cast but with the crew”. Granted the hair, makeup and costumes for these three women is exceptionally realized, but it feels like window dressing to cover up the fact that the watered-down philosophy that they’re actually speaking is self-help book gibberish.

The Happy Medium is an usual character – what was unusual about preparing for the role? One of the best and most eerie sequences is a brief detour into a cul-de-sac with children bouncing balls. In the original, Meg, the main character, is a white kid from CT; now, she’s an African American from South Central LA who comes from an interracial family. She spoke at a press conference for A Wrinkle in Time last week. Which feels right, and Reese Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit almost steals the show with her wacky lines. With attractive visuals, this film hopes to draw audiences in and open them to the idea of what could be possible while offering the usual moral fare we have come to expect from a Disney film.

Overall it is a attractive movie and has some unbelievable visuals, but I feel it’s definitely going to be enjoyed more by those who are unfamiliar with the book, and within the recommended age group.


Previews aren’t a barometer of how much a movie will go on to make for the weekend, but Disney says $1.3 million is a solid start for family titles. I’ve never read the novel, but I have no trouble believing that it carries an emotional and dramatic resonance that the film version is sadly lacking. And it’s kind of frustrating because it makes you up your game.

Jennifer Lee on A Wrinkle In Time