I wanted so badly to love this film.
Not necessarily because I read the book as a child, I missed that hype I guess, but because of Ava DuVernay and the wonderful cast she put together. This film has strong female (especially females of color) empowerment written all over it but even the cast and representation could not save this film for me. There was just something missing. I could not get connected to the story or the characters, my heart was just not in it. I wanted to care and I tried to care but care of characters should not be something that I try so hard for.
The main character, Meg (played by Storm Reid), was a great actress and I hope for so much success in the rest of her career. The lack of care and heart, in my opinion, was not because of the actor's but rather the dialogue and action. The dialogue felt flat and the story just did not entice me as much as a wild, magical story like this should have. When the three Misses (Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling) left the kids on the IT's planet, Oprah said that they were about to face many challenges and learn from them. They did face challenges, like a storm and accidentally eating sand, but I just did not understand how they were learning from that. While the scene when all the children in the suburban neighborhood are bouncing their balls in sync was pleasing and neat, what was the point? I might have missed it or did not look hard enough into it but some parts of the movie just seemed there to look nice and missed the message. I never read the book so I am not familiar with the story nor do I know if they changed it or where they altered it but I was just confused. I hate dissing films because I know the hard work that goes into them (this one was many years in the making especially since the book came out in the 60s) and especially as Ava DuVernay as the director (woman of color director, yay! Love you!) I wanted this to be a success but I just could not find myself loving this film. The tone felt awkward and not realistic (I know this film is not realistic and it is a fantasy/adventure but the tone just did not feel natural for a film of that genre). I feel as though the message and tone got lost between all the special effects and great cast. They focused their time on all of that. The editing was also awkward, there were awkward pauses and random pop songs that just started playing at times that felt out of place.
I mean the message was there, love your faults and accept others faults and learn to face the darkness and bring light to others and all of that jazz, so I think that children may love this story and the film and get something meaningful out of it like any kids who may have read this novel before. But for me, I did not get much out of it. I am happy I saw it and I want people to see it for Ava and for all the other female directors out there, we need more, people! This film just did not do it for me.