Authenticity is the latest buzz word among political commentators. According to the pundits, Anthony Albanese has it, as does Pauline Hanson (despicable though she is). Bill Shorten and Prime Minister Trumble do not. In the entertainment industry, Oprah Winfrey is credited with epitomising it, hence her fabulous wealth and megastar status. But I am not a fan. She comes across to me as typifying the Hollywood player who, as a populist par excellence, has a genius for saying the right thing at the right time. Her ‘rousing’ speech at the Golden Globes, after she had joined the ‘me too’ uprising, was dripping with sequins in its ‘sincerity’. It made me gag, but that’s the way they like it in the US, hence the breathless talk that she might run for president (admittedly, nothing could be worse than the buffoon who has the gig at the moment). In this juvenile sci-fi, she has a role that is right down her alley – as Mrs Which, she is a deity of infinite wisdom whose invincible weapon against all things bad is her beatific smile. Reese Witherspoon, who I would argue is genuinely ‘authentic’, is Mrs Whatsit, her second in command. Unfortunately, she of the helipad forehead has miscued horribly in signing up for this venture. In one sequence, she transforms herself into what looks like a giant flying leaf of silverbeet, which is more than just a tad unbecoming for an actress as gifted as Witherspoon. What Which and Whatsit are about is helping Meg of the beautiful ringlets (Storm Reid) and her little brother Charles (Deric McCabe), a squeally voiced runt whose dialogue I rarely understood, find their awesomely gifted scientist father (Chris Pine), who has been lost in the luridly coloured universe for four years (can he please be lost for another four, I daydreamed). The 109 minutes that it takes to end happily ever after is a classic example of CGI gone troppo. There is, literally, nothing left to the imagination in this sort of dumbed-down psychedelia.
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