A Wrinkle in Time Sells the Cult of Oprah
Armond White — Armond White, a film critic, writes about movies for National Review and is the author of New Position: The Prince Chronicles, at Amazon.
Hollywood preps for 2020, pushing social justice, self-worship, and girls-are-smarter-than-boys bromides.Um. . . okay? I don't know why you say justice like it's a bad thing. And self-worship is kind of what right-wing heroine Ayn Rand was pushing. And girls probably are smarter than boys as a general rule. (I, obviously, am one exception to this rule, being a former boy myself who is almost as smart as I think I am.)
But anyway, let's talk movies!
What are you?” a stupefied child asks the apparition standing overhead in A Wrinkle in Time. And Oprah Winfrey answers back, “I am a part of the universe!” Oprah’s fame has cost her the transparency to be a believable actress (which she so movingly was in Jonathan Demme’s Beloved)
Seriously? Beloved was 1998. Do you think Oprah has only achieved superstardom in the last 20 years? You think that in 1998, Oprah wasn't too famous to be a believable actress but now she is?
yet she achieves godhead in A Wrinkle in Time, a Disney film devoted to pagan self- worship.
Yeah. . . pagans don't worship themselves. It takes about 5 seconds to type "what do pagans worship?' into Google and you'll find a variety of answers, but the one answer you will not see is "themselves."
Or, you could ask a pagan. There are a lot of them and some of them have really terrific blogs. They would probably be willing to explain a bit about their belief system to you if you ask nicely. Or, I guess a third option would be to just assume that they follow a religion based on narcissism. I guess you could do that if you want to be a dick about it.
It is the second phase of Disney’s black-enslavement program this year (following Black Panther)
What. . . what does that even mean? What. . . what does Black Panther. . . and how is A Wrinkle. . . . I mean. . .what the hell, man? Enslavement? I don't even understand what you're even trying to. . . What the hell, man?
I don't even know how to refute that. How would one respond to such a statement? Are you saying these movies are about the experience of black slavery? Or that they are somehow designed to enslave black people? Or some third thing? How do you not offer a single word of clarification here? Like seriously, this is how the paragraph ends:
It is the second phase of Disney’s black-enslavement program this year (following Black Panther), and black female Ava DuVernay joins Oprah as director of this big-screen secular parable.And then it's right on to this:
Although A Wrinkle in Time comes from a children’s novel by Madeleine L’Engle, the movie itself talks down to adult audiences as children.
Um, it's a PG-rated Disney movie based on a children's book. I don't think the target audience is adults.
This updated Oz, where Meg learns self-esteem, resembles other oases of children’s literature, but it’s primarily a setting for Oprah’s New Age religiosity, now folded into #Resistance feminism.
You know Oprah didn't write this movie, right? She's not the director. She's not the producer. She's just an actress reciting dialogue someone else wrote for her character. This is not a platform for some sort of Oprah message.
Not simply a family film meant to appeal to children, A Wrinkle in Time has as its real purpose world domination.
World domination? How the fuck is a movie supposed to even try to achieve world domination?
A Wrinkle in Time has as its real purpose world domination. Its homilies amount to a manifesto, the same airy-fairy, social-worker generalities about insecurity — and resentment — that built Oprah’s media divinity.
Okay, pretty sure you don't know what a manifesto is.
The Unabomber had a manifesto.
Karl Marx had a manifesto.
Unless you think Chicken Soup for the Soul is a manifesto, it's pretty safe to say that manifestos, as a rule, do not contain "social-worker generalities about insecurity."
Liking this movie depends on one’s tolerance for drivel (or one’s reverence for Oprah), because DuVernay cannot visualize the ineffable or the commonplace.
How could one visualize the ineffable? Isn't that kinda what ineffable means? Like indescribable? Is there a director out there that could visualize that which can not even be described?
The awkward performances by Witherspoon and Kaling suffer from DuVernay’s inability to integrate different acting styles. These actresses come off as less amusing than that trio of witches in the Bette Midler–Sarah Jessica Parker–Kathy Najimy Halloween movie Hocus Pocus.
Um, I haven't seen A Wrinkle in Time, but I 'm pretty sure these actresses aren't trying to be "amusing." It's like complaining that Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis weren't nearly as much fun in Black Swan as Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy were in Bridesmaids.
If this video-game-style hagiography doesn’t expose Oprah’s calculating arrogance, nothing will.
Okay, we'll add hagiography to the list of words you think you know but don't.
You know this isn't an Oprah Winfrey biopic, right? You know she's playing a fictional character, right? You know your obsession with Oprah is unseemly at best, right?
The story is rooted in unsubtle feminism that makes Meg more resourceful than boys she knows.
Whaaaaat? The main character is more resourceful than the supporting characters? In a movie? Oh, that arrogant Oprah Winfrey!
There’s a real element of misandry here, with Pine’s affectless dad, Michael Peña playing a demonic male, and Zach Galifianakis as the effeminate Happy Medium wearing a man bun.
Or, to put it more succinctly: Waaaahhh!!! There's a movie in which the heroes arent't the men! Waaaahhh!!! The smartest character was a girl! Waaaahhh!!!
“Be a warrior. Can you?” Oprah asks Meg. Mrs. Which’s self-improvement lessons are dissociated from old-fashioned, Judeo-Christian humanism.
Humanism is pretty much the polar opposite of Judeo-Christianity.
Were you not paying attention during the culture-war 80's and 90's when Christian conservatives were constantly denouncing "secular humanists?"
So, I guess we'll just add "humanism" to the list of words you do not understand.
This is just bastardized Buddhism (venerating the “unseen energy that moves through us all”)
Wait, I thought it was paganism?
Given DuVernay’s rudimentary filmcraft, FX teams take over the fantasy sequences (Meg’s fearful flashbacks seem depersonalized). Yet, through media hype, DuVernay has achieved undeserved esteem, parallel to Oprah’s. Cinema visionaries Fritz Lang, Leni Riefenstahl, Jean Cocteau, Jacques Tati, Karel Zeman, John Boorman, Wes Anderson, and Zack Snyder created stirring images, but DuVernay’s image-making is perfunctory.
Well that's a hell of a high bar to clear. If you aren't in the same class as Fritz Lang, Jean Cocteau, or Leni riefenstahl, we're supposed to think you just suck? That's like slagging a baseball player for not being on a par with Mays, Ruth, Aaron, Musial, and Williams. You can still be a damn good hitter and not be in the pantheon with those legends. It's not a valid criticism.
DuVernay makes A Wrinkle in Time a mawkish, inspirational fable about empowerment. It lacks the poignancy one hears in Dolly Parton’s shrewd, ebullient new “children’s” album I Believe in You. Instead, little Meg is a social-justice warrior in a parable about the personal acquisition of influence: That’s what Oprah symbolizes.
For God's sake, what is it with you and Oprah? Javert wasn't this obsessed with Jean Valjean!
And what's wrong with acquiring influence? You write for National Review. Surely your intent is to influence readers. But if this movie tries to do the same thing (and I haven't seen it, so I don't know if it does try to or not) suddenly it's a problem? You say shit like this?
The Disney corporation’s ongoing political correctness has warped into something unreliable — a feminist Hillary Clinton resistance that has become part of the way liberal Hollywood corrodes escapist dazzlement. It intends to influence minds.So what if it does? Artists are allowed to try and influence people who view their art. Do you object to artists like Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Chuck D. or Toby Keith having an influence? Or is it just Oprah you have a problem with?