GIFTED Movie Review
By Myla Tosatto
Gifted is a sweet, sugary confection of a movie. It’s tooth-decaying goodness in cinema form. This isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it is the kind of movie we need right now. It’s not heavy Oscar bait, it’s not a shocking horror movie, it’s not ripped from the headlines. It’s just syrupy and pure and wholly enjoyable. The movie stars Chris Evans as Frank, as he battles over Mary’s (a plucky McKenna Grace) parental rights against his mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan). Rounding out the cast is the ever adorable Jenny Slate as Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, and the formidable Octavia Spencer as Mary and Frank’s champion. Though the movie takes place in and out of the one of the worst places in the world, a family law courthouse, it abounds with cleverness and many chuckle worthy moments. This movie was directed by the man that brought us the delightful 500 Days of Summer, Marc Webb.
Gifted is not all sunshine and rainbows. It explores some deep, dark family themes such as unattainable parental expectations, parental favoritism, and putting adult needs over the needs of an innocent child. The movie also touches on the hardest part of being a parent/guardian – stepping on Legos while barefoot. I am glad someone finally brought up this cold, hard fact of life.
I could whole heartedly recommend this to just about everyone. It is rated PG-13 for perhaps some mild language (the big bad word is dropped once) and some sexual content. Considering that the movie goers I saw it with applauded at the end should tell you something. You will leave the theater glad you went.
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.