Reviewed byJay MehtaVote: 9/10/10
Great movie to watch. I loved the chemistry between Chris Evans andMckenna Grace. Something to watch out. The direction is great and thestory very much moving.
Story (8/10): Mary is a gifted child who is way above her biologicalage. She solves complex math problems and provides expert views onpolitics. However, her late mother's brother, Frank, is determined togive her a normal life like every other kid. However there is as muchhe can hide from the world, especially her school. Eventually, it turnsinto a courtroom battle of Mary's custody between Frank and his mother,Mary's grandmother, Evelyn, who wants to have her in top schools forgifted in the country and solve some of the all time great problems inmathematics. In the midst of all this, there is a secret kept safearound Mary's mother's death. While the plot isn't so powerful, thescript was very well written which is why the movie was gripping andmanaged to keep audience's attention. I loved the character sketch ofMary and Evelyn in particular - very assertive, except that Mary hadmore subtlety instead of visible aggression.
Acting (9/10): Chris Evans is great in the role of Frank. His brilliantchemistry with Mckenna Grace is perhaps the reason the movie was soenjoyable. Mckenna Grace had definitely tough role playing a giftedchild with all the jargons. However, the raw naughtiness she was ableto project just normal to any child of her age brought a lot of life toher role. Lindsay Duncan was good too - reminded me of Leonard's motherfrom BBT. This was only the second movie of Octavia Spencer I'vewatched and she was good again even in a limited role. She made herpresence felt strongly in the movie even with two other leading ladiesmore closely related to the protagonists. Overall, the movie had somevery good performances to watch out for.
Direction (9/10): Marc Webb elevated an average story into an excellentcinema. His projection of the artistic side (right brain) of anotherwise math genius (left brain) was great and something to take awayfrom the movie. The humor kept the movie light and fun to watch. Iloved the way the relationship of Frank and Mary was projected. Some ofthe scenes, like the hospital one, were beautifully conceptualized andexecuted.
Overall (9/10): Overall, it's a very good watch, especially for theacting and the direction. Even though it's a drama but still not heavy.
Reviewed byDave McClain (email@example.com)Vote: 9/10/10
Octavia Spencer has carved out quite a niche for herself in feel-good,family-friendly dramas. At first, she often played caregivers (mostlynurses) during her feature film career, which began in 1996 when sheplayed a nurse in "A Time to Kill". But then she won a Best SupportingActress Oscar for 2011's "The Help" (in which she played a maid). Sinceher Oscar win, the variety in her movie roles has expanded, but sheseems to have gravitated towards a certain kind of cinematic story. Shetook on roles like the peace-loving Johanna in the "Divergent" films, aloving grandmother involved in a child custody battle in "Black orWhite" (2015) and a brilliant and protective NASA supervisor in "HiddenFigures" (2016). Then, in 2017, she played God himself (well, HERself)in "The Shack" and a loving grandmotherly figure on the fringes of achild custody battle in the terrific family-friendly drama "Gifted"(PG-13, 1:41).
The character to whom the title "Gifted" refers is a precocious7-year-old girl named Mary, played by Mckenna Grace (previously mainlyknown for her TV roles in "The Young and the Restless", "Once Upon aTime" and "Designated Survivor"). Mary never knew her father (whodisappeared from the picture when Mary's mother learned that she waspregnant) and her mother died when Mary was six months old. Mary isbeing raised by her uncle Frank (Chris Evans) in his modest Floridahome, which he pays for by freelancing as a boat repairman. Frank'slandlady is an older woman named Roberta (Spencer) who loves Mary likeshe's her own granddaughter. Good thing. Mary's real grandmother(Frank's mom) is an arrogant and controlling woman who lives inMassachusetts. Which is why Frank lives in Florida.
After home-schooling Mary for a while, Frank decides that it's time forMary to go to school, so he enrolls her in first grade. Frank thinksit's critically important that Mary socialize and make friends withkids her own age. Mary doesn't think she should go to school. Robertaagrees and isn't shy about expressing her concerns to Frank. Robertaknows that Mary is special and is concerned about protecting her from aworld which can't understand her. Mary doesn't want to go to schoolbecause she knows that she can't relate to kids who aren't on herintellectual level. Also because elementary school is so well,elementary. Mary's concerns about school play out very quickly when shehits a boy in the face with a book for bullying a younger child andwhen she gets disgusted with her strict, but caring teacher, BonnieStevenson (Jenny Slate) for asking the kids what 3+3 equals, when Marycan do calculus! Ms. Stevenson clearly recognizes Mary's genius inmathematics and the school's principal (Elizabeth Marvel) tells Frankthat the school is unable to academically challenge a child like Maryand offers to help get Mary into a very prestigious private schoolnearby. Frank refuses, insisting that what Mary needs more at thispoint is to learn to socialize with her peers (chronological peers, ifnot intellectual ones) and to just "be a kid". It's at this point thatgrandma Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) shows up on Frank's doorstep. Amathematical genius herself (but surpassed by her late daughter), shetries to convince Frank that his method of raising Mary will rob her ofher potential and deprive the world of major contributions that sheseems destined to make. When Frank refuses to budge, Evelyn drags himinto court for a bitter and very personal custody battle. Roberta andEvelyn become more involved in the lives of Mary and Frank, but it'sunlikely they can do much to help Frank sort through his limitedoptions.
"Gifted" is a wonderful movie, wonderfully executed. Screenwriter TomFlynn and director Marc Webb give us a sweet and meaningful story oflove, family and finding balance in life. It also makes for outstandingdrama, with well-constructed twists and multi-layered plot lines. Graceis adorable and exceptionally talented, as shown not just by thisrole, but by the impressive list of screen credits she accumulated bythe age of 10! Evans may not be carrying Captain America's shield inthis movie, but he's still pretty heroic as the loving but conflictedfather figure who desperately wants to do right by his niece. Slatereminds us that she's an excellent actress with more range than most ofher fellow SNL alumni. She also has great chemistry with Evans, withwhom she had a year-long relationship after making this movie. Duncanplays her pseudo-villain role with depth and Spencer is both fun andheart-warming to watch. The occasional adult language and allusions tosex take a little away from this film's family-friendliness, but"Gifted" really is a great gift to Movie Fans. "A"
Reviewed byrioplaydrumVote: 9/10/10
I knew nothing about this film. Had seen no adds, heard no word ofmouth, pretty much nothing.
I only found it only after tapping out the local AMC 24 and driving afew extra miles to see something new.
The premise was intriguing: What to do with a seven year oldmathematical prodigy caught between a cozy, loving household occupiedby her doting Uncle Frank and a one-eyed cat named Fred, and achallenging but cold academic world ready to pace her on mentaltreadmills for the rest of her life.
McKenna Grace plays little Mary who's character is at the center ofattention whether she likes it or not. Mostly not.
Grace's performance does raise a few eye brows as she very convincinglyplays a precocious and genius little girl plagued with boredom beingsurrounded by the dead-weight of average students she has nothing incommon with.
In fact, Mary's personality is also far developed beyond her peers,exhibiting a sarcastic and jaded sense of humor more on par with abunch of 40-year olds downing a shot or two after a particularly badday at work.
After Mary's abilities are discovered by her first grade teacher, theinevitable battle for command of her future quickly unfolds.
One very powerful supporting role is supplied by Lindsay Duncan whoportrays Evelyn the Grandmother. Evelyn is a poised and properEnglishwoman armed with a titanium intellect few would want tochallenge. As the legal proceedings unfold, Evelyn verbally fire-bombsthe entire court room from the stand without batting an eye in herfight for custody of Mary.
Her arguments and assessments are hopelessly air-tight and seamless,leaving Uncle Frank and his lawyer scrambling.
Frank just wants Mary to be a little girl. Grandma wants to plug herinto The Matrix. Who will win?
'Gifted' is not without it's displays of some original laughs. Myfavorite was a scene in which little Mary discovers her Uncle Frank issleeping with her 1st grade teacher, who one morning comes stumblinginto the kitchen wearing only a towel.
Their reaction to each other is priceless.
As to why this production is flying under the radar with virtually noadvertising or promotion is baffling.
The hour-and-a-half flew by for me and left me with an odd feeling itended too soon. Aside from that, there was almost nothing wrong withthis film, at least not that I could find.
Warm, unique and entertaining, 'Gifted' should stay with you for daysafterwards.
A great family night movie.
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.