Movie Review: Gifted
Amidst all of the Star Wars Celebration chaos, this is the first day that life has felt marginally back to normal. So, with that being the case, it’s time to finally share a movie review. While we were down in Orlando, Jonathan and I were able to see Marc Webb’s (The Amazing Spiderman) latest theatrical release, Gifted. This story is centered around a brilliant little girl and stars such heavy hitters as Chris Evans (Captain America: Civil War, Snowpiercer), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures, The Help), Lindsay Duncan (Birdman, About Time), Jenny Slate (The Secret Life of Pets, Zootopia), and the young Mckenna Grace (Designated Survivor).
The movie begins with introducing us to Frank Adler, portrayed by Chris Evans, a man who lives humbly, works on boats, and is sending his niece, Mary, to school for the first time. There’s a lot of tension around this decision, and his landlord, the incredible Octavia Spencer, is not pleased with his decision. However, his desire is for Mary to have a normal life with school and friends. After her first day of school and the problems that occur, though, it becomes clear that Mary is no ordinary child. As Frank refuses to adjust her schooling, his mother, Evelyn, portrayed by Lindsay Duncan, enters the picture. She believes that Frank is denying her granddaughter of the life she needs, and thus begins the journey for the rest of the film. We see each character’s motivations revealed along the way in this custody battle for Mary.
The whole concept of a custody battle for a brilliant child is not necessarily an original concept, but Webb’s direction and casting choices bring a lot of heart to this tale. He also leaves us with several surprises along the way, and I can confidently say that the last fifteen minutes left me with my mouth wide open. I found that each actor played their part well, but the real showstopper was Mckenna Grace, who portrayed Mary Adler. Her performance was not only hilarious and heartwarming; she also left me in tears at several points during the film. To be able to bring that kind of substance to a performance is astounding for a 10-year-old, and I think it’s safe to say that she has a long, illustrious career ahead of her if that’s what she desires.
Gifted was a film I had placed on my most anticipated list for 2017, and I was not disappointed. It’s a smaller film, and there are quite a few theaters that do not have it available. As with all films, there are some issues I had here and there. There were some weird pacing choices in my opinion, and there are a few scenes with one character in particular that didn’t quite hit the mark; however, if it is showing around your area, I encourage you to check it out. It’s a heartwarming and sometimes heartbreaking film about a family with a lot problems to work through. There is always a character to relate to, and by the end of it, I think you too will be invested in what is best for young Mary Adler.