Writer: Tom Flynn (Screenplay)
Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Michael Kendall Kaplan, John M Jackson
Plot: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Verdict: Truly Charming Engaging Drama
Story: Gifted starts as we meet single boat repair man Frank Adler (Evans) who has been home teaching his child prodigy niece Mary (Grace), he wants her to experience more of the world trying to push her into attending school against their supportive neighbour Roberta’s (Spencer) ideas.
When Mary finds herself stuck in a class she is clearly too smart to be a part of, it is up to her teacher Bonnie (Slate) to challenge her in class as Mary must learn social skills with other students. When Frank’s mother Evelyn (Duncan) returns to the scene, she wants the custody of Mary and get her into all of the gifted schools forcing her to follow in her mother’s footsteps, the very thing Frank wants to stop happening. We are left to follow the court case unfold leaving us with the questions on what we think would be best for a child with Mary’s gifts.
Thoughts on Gifted
Characters/Performance – Frank is the single uncle of Mary, he has given up his life to raise his niece to make sure she doesn’t get forced into the same routines her mother had to go through and be a normal kid. He always wants to do the right thing for Mary. Mary is the niece that has an exceptional gift when it comes to numbers, raised by her Uncle who has kept her grounded she finds herself in the middle of the court case. Evelyn is the Frank’s mother and Mary’s Grandmother who wants to take Mary into her own custody to make sure she gets the best education to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Bonnie is the teacher that challenges Mary but ends up being a love interest for Frank, with Roberta being the good neighbour that is the only other adult Mary has befriended.
Performance wise, Chris Evans is fantastic in the leading role playing each scene perfectly, Lindsay Duncan is also great throughout the film as is Jenny Slate and Octavia Spencer is the always reliable supporting actress. Mckenna Grace bursts onto the scene in the film where she is brilliant throughout the film.
Story – When you look into the story you must understand this is all about what would be right for Mary. We see both lives she could end up living, one with her Uncle and one with her grandmother. Watching how the court case unfolds shows us just how difficult the discussion could be as both have the positives. I think the story is paced perfectly to tell the story without creating a true villain and is just about two people who want the best for Mary.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the best feel good movies of the year, it shows human issues without making anything aggressive towards each other just people wanting the best for a gifted little girl.
Overall: In a summer filled with mega budget films, this film shines brighter than any so far.