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Disney’s adaptation of Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time will arrive in theaters this Friday, March 9th — and prior to its official release, reviewers were able to get a sneak peek of the film. L’Engle’s 1962 book has been both admired and panned by audiences for decades thanks to its themes, religious overtones, and fantastical allegories. It’s a brilliant book, but can it become a brilliant film? Currently the film is receiving a score of under 50% on Rotten Tomatoes and averaging a 5.1 out of 10.

What are critics saying to give the film such a lukewarm response? Read a sampling below (also be sure to check out Alex’s review here):

Black Girl Nerds‘ Jamie Broadnax comments on the film as a whole:

It may not get there in a perfectly wrapped bow, but it tells the story in a way that as a fan I can appreciate — and as a critic, I can also respect. I smiled throughout this entire film because it gave me a sense of joy and, just for a few moments, I was able to escape and feel enamored by all of the beauty on screen.

Travis Hopson of Punch Drunk Critics voiced concerns that audience expectations will be too high following the release of Black Panther:

A noble effort with few moments of true magic, A Wrinkle in Time follows in the unfortunate wake of Black Panther, with audience expectation at an all-time high, especially for another film with an intelligent, powerful African-American protagonist.

Mashable contributor, Angie Han embraces the imperfections of the movie:

A Wrinkle in Time is for all the girls – and boys, and non-binary kids, and teens and adults and the elderly – who’ve ever been a Meg. It’s a flawed film that entreats us to love flawed things, up to and including our very own selves. Maybe that sounds like a hoary cliché now. It didn’t feel like one when I was watching the movie, which is so disarming earnest that I fell completely under its spell.

Dave Schilling of Birth.Movies.Death. compares its accomplishments with other groundbreaking films:

Its gleaming, multiracial cast and propensity for philosophizing lack even a trace of irony. In the wake of Get Out and Black PantherA Wrinkle in Time completes a trilogy of transcendent black filmmaking. Get Out examines the painful past. Black Panther shows what we are and can be. A Wrinkle in Time looks at what’s next through the eyes of children with open hearts and curious minds.

Storm Reid’s performance as Meg is what gives the movie life according to Jake Cole of Slant Magazine:

The film may involve the instant movement among unfathomable distances and the shattered limits of space and time, but it’s only Meg who feels multidimensional, her emotional journey more mesmerizing than any of the film’s special effects.

Fresh Fiction TV’s Courtney Howard writes:

Unfortunately, this divisive adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved novel frustratingly slips up when it tries to do too many things. While the film is ambitious, visionary and cosmic, it’s just as equally problematic, awkward and plodding.

Molly Freeman of Screen Rant finds the movie to be a “beautiful misfire”:

DuVernay is undoubtedly a skilled director, bringing to life concepts and ideas that others may not even be able to imagine; the cast of A Wrinkle in Time is exceptionally talented, delivering largely captivating performances that are simply weighed down by the story and exposition.

Rolling Stone’s David Fear chimes in with this quote:

It’s worth seeing just to bask in a film that does ask for inclusion on such a grand scale, that does score points both subtle and not-so-subtle (“I’ve never seen the point of fences,” notes Whatsit, and the subtext is understood), that does question why the province of tentpoles belongs to one group and not every group.

Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time premieres nationwide on Friday, March 9th.

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