When you write for and work in the entertainment industry, you come to understand a lot of things. First thing, early Twitter reviews of films are usually glowing (many are set up by PR firms). If not glowing, they are usually plentiful. It seems rather suspicious that after the Los Angeles premiere of A Wrinkle in Time, there have been both positive and negative tweets. But there weren’t a lot of tweets from critics who saw the film. The popular motto, “If you don’t have nothing nice to say, don’t say it at all,” fits here.
Then again, the social justice wing has been very busy condemning those who don’t like A Wrinkle in Time as racist, sexist, and everything else. But there is another bad sign of the movie’s reception, as Slashfilm notes, reviews have been embargoed until the day before the Ava DuVernay-directed film hits theaters. That usually happens to films that, well, expect to receive negative reviews. And there are many signs that newspaper editors are having a heart attack, afraid that the negative reviews will cause controversy.
Since the movie started production, it had been highly publicized as a “diverse” film starring women of different ethnicities. Oprah Winfrey plays Mrs. Which, Mindy Kaling plays Mrs. Who, and Storm Reid plays the starring role of Meg Murry. It’s being pushed as a social justice film in the same way Ghostbusters was pushed a couple years back. Doing so is a disastrous mistake that insults the cause of diversity more than helps it. Displaying several ethnic female characters without giving thought to the plot or character development is just as insulting as hiring an all white and male cast.
Some of the tweets pretty much indicate that A Wrinkle in Time may just fold over by the time it hits screens.
It’s a film that has no flow whatsoever. There are moments late in the film when it comes alive a bit, but it’s not enough.— Sean Mulvihill (@MessEnScene) February 27, 2018
Before anybody screams about racism, sexism, and every other “ism,” many who have tweeted negative remarks about A Wrinkle in Time have loved Black Panther, a film that certainly had a social justice PR campaign. However, Black Panther is also a great film that has been embraced by a diverse audience. The film’s characters are complex, and the writing is compelling.
Perhaps the biggest problem with A Wrinkle in Time is the book that it is adapted from. As Michael Dirda of the Washington Post notes, the book is “a mess, illogical, derivative, and confusing.” It’s sort of like the show Lost in Space, which was an adventurous piece of science fiction in the 1960s, but absolutely lame in 2018.
This author wishes Ava DuVernay and the cast of this allegedly “groundbreaking film” luck. Their intentions are very good. But many times, good intentions lead to disastrous results and hurt social justice causes more than helping them.