WARNING: The following review contains spoilers, I’m telling you now so you don’t pretend to be outraged later.
Gifted is a story of a 7-year-old math genius named Mary (Mckenna Grace) torn in the middle of a custody battle between an overbearing grandmother and her borderline deadbeat uncle. Mary’s mother committed suicide shortly after she was born and her Uncle Frank(Chris Evans) wants her to live a normal everyday life. Her grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) however, wants Mary to follow in her mother footsteps and work to capitalize on her math talents. If they both realized earlier that doing a bit of both was completely manageable, it would have saved them 7 years of animosity and a boatload of lawyer fees. But I guess there wouldn’t have been much of a story that way.
There is a not so subtle theme of wealth privilege displayed as Rural Florida takes on Upper-Class Boston in the courtroom as well as the fractured family dynamic of a little girl who doesn’t know much about her family outside her Uncle. Evans and Grace do a pretty good job depicting blue-collar Americans living ‘the honest life’ in a small community. Meanwhile, Evelyn is depicted as a mother who wants what’s best for her family, but doesn’t realize her obsessive need for her kids to succeed does them more harm than good. There is a powerful scene where the realization of this causes her to break down more than when she actually lost her daughter. There really isn’t a bad guy/good guy here, you have two sides of the spectrum who believe their way of doing things is for the best of Mary but both goes too far in spite of the other side (a lot like politics in 2017). Jenny Slate is in the film as Mary’s teacher and it must be weird that she met Chris Evans and starting dating him after the filming of this movie only to break up just before the film’s release. As for her performance, she’s fine. Octavia Spencer is also in the film as the mother Mary never had, given her situation. She doesn’t want Mary to go public school knowing that her genius would bring attention from the world she wants her to stay out of. Considering that director Marc Webb’s last film was The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (or as I call it ‘Cinematic Garbage’) this was a very good return to from him. Gifted is cliché at times and tends to go the route of hoping an adorable little girl can win your hearts with sass and occasional swearing. While she may not completely win you over, the film empathizes the importance of a strong stable family and for that, it is worthy of a favorable rating.
OFFICIAL RATING: ***