A Wrinkle in Time (2004)

Movie review by
Common Sense Media Editors, Common Sense Media
A Wrinkle in Time (2004) Movie Poster Image
TV movie version of classic tale; some scares, bullying.
  • NR
  • 2004
  • 138 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 21 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The importance of family. The importance of being true to yourself. It's OK to be different.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Meg thinks for herself. She learns to be appreciative of the kindness others have shown her, even when she's angry with them, thus learning the meaning of unconditional love. Even though he's the "popular kid" in school, Calvin values Meg for who she is. 


Some scary imagery concerning "The Darkness" and its effect on some of the lead characters. 


Innocent expressions of attraction between a tween girl and boy, like awkward hand-holding. 


Some verbal bullying. A tween girl is made fun of by other tween girls for crying in school after getting in trouble. A young boy is mocked by other boys while walking home from school because he never talks in class. Name-calling on the order of "weird," "ugly," and "stupid." The mother of one of the lead characters yells at her kids. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this version of A Wrinkle in Time is a TV movie from the early 2000s. Like the 2018 movie, it's based on Madeleine L'Engle's classic sci-fi novel. It's a good vs. evil parable, but there are some frightening moments when the kids travel through time and space. There are separations -- the father is missing, the mother is sad, the siblings who need each other become parted for a while (although it ends happily) -- so kids going through an emotional time might want to pass. The giant brain IT is never shown in its entirety, which may disappoint kids who want a more accurate adaptation of the book. There are some moments of bullying: verbal taunting, name-calling on the order of "weird" and "ugly." Overall, while it's a sci-fi story, A Wrinkle in Time also raises timeless coming-of-age issues like trying to fit in, thinking for yourself, and the first stirrings of tween attraction that might be "more than friends." 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byAustenFriend May 23, 2020

Thought provoking adaptation

I had never heard of the 2003 version of A Wrinkle in Time until I saw the most recent version. I didn't dislike the new version but I watched the 2003 ver... Continue reading
Adult Written byMike I. March 11, 2018

Well done movie with great lesson

It points out mistakes adults makes when parenting and different aspects of live that adults make mistakes because of their busy life .
Teen, 13 years old Written byMr.Critic November 10, 2020
Kid, 11 years old May 5, 2011

hate it

I am reading the book it is so boring it makes no sense its so stupid!

What's the story?

In A WRINKLE IN TIME, when astrophysicist Dr. Jack Murry (Chris Potter) disappears without a trace, his children, Meg (Katie Stuart) and Charles Wallace (David Dorfman), and neighbor Calvin O'Keefe (Gregory Smith) take it upon themselves to find him. Guided by Mrs. Whatsit (Alfre Woodard), Mrs. Who (Alison Elliott), and Mrs. Which (Kate Nelligan), the children embark on a cosmic quest before finally reaching the dark planet, Camazotz, where they encounter a society of human beings controlled by an evil force. They must use their collective and personal strengths to find Dr. Murry and save their own lives.

Is it any good?

This film adaptation might come as a disappointment to fans of the book as it rubs the wrong way in several crucial spots. A main issue is that it doesn't do an adequate job of portraying the evil of IT. Instead of being menacing, IT is a campy mass of snake-like tissue, never fully revealed. The Darkness is also never fully explained, and the resolution of the struggle is so quick that if you get up to fetch a tissue, you will miss it entirely. Sadly, the ending just doesn't move or satisfy, and the transformations of the characters, so powerful in the book, remain superficial in this version. Still, you have to admire the guts of whoever tries to squeeze this beloved children's book into two hours. It's gamely performed by the kids, but the adult roles are sadly cartoonish and two-dimensional despite the presence of the marvelous Kate Nelligan and Alfre Woodard.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what being different means and what it means to be true to yourself and those you love rather than be popular. How does Meg embrace her individuality in A Wrinkle in Time?

  • If you've read the book, how is this adaptation similar? How is it different? Do you think it does a good job of telling the story? Why or why not?

  • Over half a century since the book was released, A Wrinkle in Time remains popular. Why do you think it has stood the test of time? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi and fantasy

Character Strengths

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