Gifted is a simple movie, but I do not mean that in a bad way. In fact, I think this is an extremely charming film with some really good acting. But the fact of the matter is that the ideas and concepts in Gifted are not groundbreaking. Again, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Chris Evans plays Frank Adler. Frank’s sister was a mathematical genius, but was at a point in her life where she could not deal with the pressure or their mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) and she kills herself. She leaves her infant daughter with Frank to raise. However, it becomes apparent that the daughter, Mary (McKenna Grace) is also a genius in math. In fact, she was those one in a million type geniuses. Frank wants to send Mary to school, and give the little girl a normal life, the life of a child.
When the teacher and principal notices that Mary is far beyond 1st grade work, they try to get Frank to enroll Mary at a specialized school, but Frank chooses to dismiss that option, still claiming that he wanted Mary to be a normal child. This led to a phone call to Evelyn, who found Mary a second chance to become a world renown mathematician.
This led to a court case over the custody of Mary, between mother and son- Mary’s grandmother and uncle.
Gifted was a very charming movie. I found myself really enjoying the writing of the film, as these characters became important to me. They were smart and they were written that way. There was some sharp dialogue and powerful chemistry.
Chris Evans was excellent as the conflicted uncle who is really not certain that he is doing what is right. He believed that he was doing what his sister wanted, but he had some doubts. Evans’ delivery of these great lines of dialogue was spot on and he showed himself to be a star in this film. He also had remarkable chemistry with the young McKenna Grace. She was amazing throughout, feeling completely genuine. You felt for Mary as she made her way through the story.
I also found the relationship between Chris Evans and Lindsay Duncan to be wonderfully original. This was a mother and son who did love one another, but just could not get out of each others way. Frank had clearly run from his mother after the sister’s suicide and the mother had no interest in her son, who was always second best to her daughter. But yet, they had some wonderful scenes together talking to one another and these scenes provided quite the insight to both of them.
Octavia Spencer is also here, playing nest door neighbor and friend Roberta. Spencer gives yet another strong supporting performance, having strong scenes with both Evans and Grace.
Now, the ending was a bit out of left field, and I could have used hints to this throughout the film- some foreshadowing- so it did not feel so much of a deus ex machina. But the result of the ending was satisfying so I can excuse that.
Marc Webb directed Gifted and returned to form after the troublesome Amazing Spider-man 2. Gifted felt like something that would be in wheelhouse and he knocked it out of the park. I found this movie to be very entertaining and well written. There were great performances by the cast which help balance out the predictability of the story. The ending may be too sweet for the rest of the film, but that is a minor complaint. And in fact, I was happy when the film ended. It had taken us on an emotional journey and Evans and Grace have a lot to do with that.