Disney's "A Wrinkle in Time" is so far one of the biggest projects she has taken on since her directorial debut. At a time when movies are nearly uniformly too long, this is one film that could have benefited from a few more scenes to plump up Meg's backstory, solidify the emotional stakes and smooth out transitions that are jagged at best, nonsensical at worst. She's a California transplant by way of the South, raised on a healthy diet of "ma'ams" and "sirs". Which (Winfrey as the wise sage), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon as the spunky communicator) and Mrs. She told us that they were one of the first aspects of the book to be removed from the script, as they were unnecessary to telling Meg's story in A Wrinkle in Time. In a time when we should also be making a special effort to give boys the tools they need to fight toxic male stereotypes, escape from oppressive expectations and embrace the differences that make them who they are, Calvin O'Keefe is definitely worthy of our time and attention.
It's a good lesson for the young actress-especially one at the center of a $100 million Disney tentpole. "But above all, it's a film about a little black girl with glasses - like my mom, like my wife, like my big sister Ava - who refuses to accept that her dad is lost". He doesn't have any of the threat or gravitas of the character in the book beyond a superficial level.
Among the generous liberties taken by screenwriters Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell, NASA scientist parents Mr. and Mrs. Murry (Chris Pine and Gugu Mbataha-Raw, respectively) have two children (not four as in the book); daughter Meg (Storm Reid) and adopted son Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe).
At its core is the story of a middle-school girl who must make peace with herself and her absent father.
"She's often like, 'Who dat?' to me, because I've been a little busy promoting this movie", she jokingly admitted.
Movie review: Disney's 'Wrinkle in Time' looks great, but its story feels incomplete
"I flipped out", says Reid, now 14 and in the ninth grade.
Reid plays Meg as quiet and insecure, a true loner wrapped up in angst. "She has a lovely vision and a handsome mind". She's had bit roles in television ("NCIS: Los Angeles", "Chicago P.D.") and film ("12 Years a Slave", "Sleight"), but nothing even close to something like "A Wrinkle in Time". Hitchcock's observation is boiled down to the dictum "Mediocre books make the best movies". Her self-doubt even made it hard for her on her inter-dimensional journey. So in some ways when we watched it without, we realized it was the right journey for the film, but I still carry Aunt Beast with me because she was my favorite, but I get it. They instead did nothing for me except make me check my phone for the time.
Life has provided plenty of other unbelievable moments amid the Wrinkle press tour. Because A Wrinkle in Time's impact comes less from the tale it tells than the message it imparts.
That said, not much about the worlds Meg and company visit are very memorable.
I also like the way that the characters come to face their inner fears and isolation. "And then I finally asked her for a picture". If it doesn't always work, well, at least DuVernay went for it, and her version of "A Wrinkle in Time" is just as gorgeous and odd as can be expected. DuVernay is a seemingly fearless filmmaker, full of energy and ambition, but despite the power of her previous feature we'd never seen her talents tested on a scale this big.