Director Ava DuVernay could improve her imaginative vision
What is the answer to creating space for a real world as well as matters of the heart and being different in the world you live in?
Director Ava DuVernay experienced a few answers when she translated from print Madeleine L’Engle’s novel “A Wrinkle in Time” to a cinematic piece. The film clearly showed that while DuVernay has the imagination to share, she still has room for improvement.
Tendo Nagenda, Disney executive, handed the script to DuVernay who had never read the book but still crafted a coherent cinematic piece. DuVernay added personality to the movie since she has had to overcome her own challenges in the obvious sense in her goal to build a name for herself, especially since she is a woman director. She started as a film publicist, then proceeded low-budget independent films like Middle of Nowhere by which she acquired a director’s award in a Sundance festival.
“A Wrinkle in Time,” both the film and the book, explore an adventure of two siblings, Meg (Storm Reid) and Charles Wallace Murry, who search the universe for their missing father. Their friend Calvin joins them in their quest under the guidance of three unearthly women: Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling).
After Mr. Murry discovered a new planet, he used a traveling means that only he understands called tesseract. The children learn to read what and who to trust and believe what you cannot see, especially when it comes to love and is the key to appreciating the plot.
As an audience, we each have illusions that blind us because of our fears and no matter how brave we rise to face them, they do not go easily away like we wish they would. When the negative focuses build up, it strengthens the force in the Universe which is called “The It.” The It chases all joy away and cowers from the light and is the thing the children eventually face in order to free Mr. Murry.
Meg, one of the key characters, has big curly hair and glasses and faces taunts at school from catty classmates and a note with a smiley face on her locker that states “…if only you would disappear too.” When Meg plays basketball, Charles Wallace cheers her on which embarrasses her more because her classmates’ scoffs only increase. Meg has had enough and punches one of the girls in the face and causes detention. The principal remarks to Meg about her being a bright student and questions her rather than the girl who was causing the issue.
It upset Meg. It would have me too. Being somewhat of an outcast for most of my own life, I have some of that awkward personality so I could relate to her as I am sure other viewers like me might have.
In many senses, while I enjoyed the narrative aspects of the film with a particular nod to the chosen actors and personalities that emerged through their characters, parts of the plot felt like it dragged. Also, depending on what you expect when it comes to special effects, I believe the audience needed more time to feel like they had an actual presence in the other world.
In the end, the audience only sees Meg reaching out to the girl who scoffed and bullied her earlier by waving at her in the window. I believe an encounter between the two girls would have served as better closure. I also believe more of Charles Wallace’s exposition and additional character development would have helped make sense to his sudden change of personality when he joined The It.
After discussing the film with several other friends who also have seen it, we all agree the plot could’ve gone much farther than it did. We all really wanted to like it but we felt when the credits rolled in after the screen faded to black, the film was still lacking. The character development had an intriguing start it could have been expanded more than it had. I am hoping for a sequel that might do more of that and increase fan interest for the potential Director Duvernay certainly has.