Marc Webb sure does know how to display emotion in his films just (500) Days of Summer and yes, even the Amazing Spider-Man movies. Those Spider-Man movies weren’t that good but the best aspects of them were Peter and Gwen’s relationship, where Marc was able to capture the emotion between them. He continues that same trend with the latest movie Gifted. Gifted is about Frank Adler (Chris Evans), 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 7-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. It also stars Octavia Spencer and Jenny Slate.
I thought Gifted was pretty great. Chris Evans stars as the main character and uncle of a math prodigy and seven-year-old Mckenna Grace (who is adorable). Grace shines in every scene and I predict she will go far. After enrolling her in public school (first grade) for the first time, it’s evident that she’s “different.” This garners unwanted attention by the school, who want her to go to a magnet school. Chris Evans disagrees and just wants her to have a normal life. Enter grandmother Evelyn, who plays Evans’s mother, a former mathematician/professor that wants Grace to embrace her genius and offer her the finer things in life. Throw in Jenny Slate to play Grace’s teacher and, of course, a love interest for Evans. And Octavia Spencer is in there too, playing Evans’s neighbor and a close friend to Grace.
The scenes with Grace and Evans are precious – it’s great to see how Evans interacts with kids. One particular scene with Evans and Grace playing around outside in the sunset and talking captures their relationship perfectly. Snippets of dialogue continue to stick out to me: “Frank wanted me before he knew I was smart,” and “They’re idiots.” The movie basically plays out as a custody battle. I happen to like courtroom dramas, so I found that part interesting, but the movie is predictable and clique but that isn’t a bad thing in my book. I do wish we could have seen more of Grace play out the math prodigy thing other than doing some large calculations in her head during the first day of school and solving a math problem at a university.
I think it’s pretty obvious how things are going to shake out but thanks to Marc Webb and this phenomenal cast, I can’t help but be invested in this film. Movies like Gifted are why I cannot have nice things, specifically tear-free evenings at the movies. Sure, I knew I was going to get a dose of Chris Evans being emotional as heck, but I did not anticipate this emotional ride. Definitely, check out Gifted when it plays near your theater!
SUPERSAM RATING: ★★★★½