By Jack Rico
THE 1-4-0: In #Gifted, Captain America’s Chris Evans shows us he can be a domestic dad figure whilst fighting for what is right. Tissues are a must for this feel trip.
The Gist: Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single, boat repairman raising his math prodigy niece, Mary Adler (McKenna Grace). Frank wants a normal life for Mary, he truly believes that his late sister would have wanted Mary to have a normal school life, filled with kids her age, to be out and about doing normal things— not for her to be cooped up inside doing long math equations all day long. His plans come crumbling down when he finds himself in the middle of a messy, custody battle with his rich and haughty mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who wants full custody of Mary, claiming that Frank is suppressing Mary’s talent and deserves only the very best such as around the clock tutors and prep school for gifted children such as Mary.
What Works: It was refreshing to see Chris Evans sans the Captain America shield and taking on a more domestic, relatable role. What really sells this film was his chemistry with McKenna Grace. They play the uncle-niece dynamic perfectly. Apart from tugging at the heartstrings, Gifted allows the audience to side with both parties, as an audience member you will become emotionally involved in the trial scene—collective gasps and sighs of relief are sure to be heard.
Gifted will enamor you with its heart-wrenching quotes – “What’s your biggest fear? That I’d ruin Mary’s life?,” and beautiful scenery such as the scene where Frank and Mary were bonding as the sun went down providing breathtaking silhouettes of the two as the sun bathed everything with deep hues of crimson and gold.
What Doesn’t Work: While Gifted’s classroom scenes were meant to show just how Mary has trouble fitting in with her classmates, and how socially awkward she is, they were rushed and failed to portray the depth they were meant to. Those scenes were kept afloat by the witty exchanges between Mary and her first-grade teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate). The on-screen romance and chemistry between Evans and Slate is great, but it’s rushed at times. Halfway through the movie you’ll soon forget that they’re romantically involves until she randomly makes an appears in a scene.
The film placed an emphasis on how Mary had a special place on everyone’s life and how Roberta (Octavia Spencer) was deeply affected when they took her away. The lack of Octavia Spencer screen time was a big turn off, any scene that she was in was great, but she didn’t have many, or much dialogue for that matter. The audience will want to see more from Roberta and how she interacted with Mary; the scenes that portrayed them both interacting were not enough.
Pay or Nay: I say pay. From the beautiful heartfelt scenes, and the witty one liners, you won’t leave the cinema disappointed or dry-eyed. Gifted is a drama with a happy ending and a loveable and quirky one-eyed cat. What’s not to love about that?