There is no doubt in my mind that Ava DuVernay is a gifted filmmaker, capable of creating the memorable Selma as well as the outstanding documentary 13th. When she announced her desire to make a film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1963 novel A Wrinkle in Time (with the blessing of Oprah Winfrey), I had high hopes that something wonderful would happen.
The more I thought about the shortcomings of this film, I came to the conclusion that no movie could do justice to this classic children’s book, which is primarily a novel of ideas and imagination, touched with Christian theology. Every major work of ideas (i.e. Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, A Pilgrim’s Progress, Ulysses, Moby Dick, Animal Farm, The Narnia Chronicles, etc.) begins to fall apart when its big themes are reduced (or blown up) to screen size. One of the reasons that draws readers back to classic children’s fiction as adults is the depth of wisdom that reveals itself upon later readings.