FilmReview

Review: ‘Gifted’ Hits the Sweet Spot

Ivy Richmond Sears ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Gifted is a film about a man, Frank (Chris Evans), who has taken on raising his niece, Mary (Mckenna Grace), after his sister’s suicide 6 years previously. Mary is a sweet and outspoken child, who also happens to be a math genius just like her late mother. When Mary’s teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate) notices Mary’s affinity for math she attempts to help by getting her a scholarship to a prestigious school in the area. This ends up causing a legal battle between Frank, who believes that Mary should grow up as a “normal” child, and Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), who believes that Mary has a responsibility to share her brain with the world.

Gifted is at it’s heart a family drama about two people with differing views on how to best raise a child. It is not a film that one expects to be unique. Going in, it screams cliche, and yet somehow, it manages to be fresh and extremely touching. It will leave audiences thinking about the meaning of family and what it means to do good for both yourself and the world. The film is not understated, these messages slightly beat you over the head. Overall, Gifted managed to take a common story and turn it into something special.

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Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace in Gifted. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

What goes from a story about learning to parent after tragedy, turns into a court room drama between a mother and son who can’t agree on what is right for a child they both love. The ultimate question that is raised is: what should be done for the individual and what should be done for the world? This question is what holds Gifted together and allows it to be a touching story with heaps of pathos.

 It would be impossible to talk about Gifted without talking about Mckenna Grace, who plays the main character, Mary. She is one of the most talented young actors to grace the screen in some time. She has an incredible grasp on not only her emotional range, but also subject matter that is far beyond her years. She managed to blend genius with child very seamlessly to create a three-dimensional character- something difficult for actors twice her age. As for the adults, the acting was adequate. Chris Evans sports his usual mix of both attractive and slightly soulful. Jenny Slate gives an honest and surprisingly serious performance as Mary’s teacher and Octavia Spencer was good as she always is. Overall, the performances were good enough to create a touching and meaningful ending.

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Jenny Slate in Gifted. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

 Is Gifted going to be the best film you have ever seen? No, but it’s fun and heartwarming and sad all at the same time. Mckenna Grace is adorable, Chris Evans is attractive, Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer are almost always worth watching. Gifted is the perfect movie to end a bad day, or take your mind off your own life. So see this movie, just don’t expect the world from it.

 Overall Grade: B-

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