8 tech score
“Gifted” (Fox Searchlight)
What would you do if you had a child who was truly a genius? Would you want the child to have a normal life or would you opt to give the child special treatment and instruction? These are the issues raised in the new highly interesting and entertaining film “Gifted”. The story is one so cleverly presented that audiences are at a loss as to how the story is going to end.
Chris Evans stars in the film as Frank, a very smart man himself, raising his sister’s “gifted” daughter. His sister, a true genius in her own right, is deceased. Frank took her little girl to raise without being appointed guardian or getting any approval through the courts. Things have been going smoothly but now it is time for Mary (McKenna Grace to start first grade. Frank’s neighbor and friend Roberts (Octavia Spencer) has bad feelings about this.
Within a few hours of Mary being in public school, her teacher Bonnie Stevenson (Jenny Slate) learns of Mary’s special talents. She suggests a school for gifted students but Frank is opposed. He feels his sister would want a normal life for Mary. His mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) disagrees and decides to fight Frank’s choices for Mary.
This sounds like a pretty basic plot but as presented by director Marc Webb and this cast it is high drama from start to finish. McKenna Grace is such a natural little actress, and the interplay she shows with Evans is stunning. You see the father/daughter type relationship they have and you feel the emotional connection which is also present. Evans has never been this good and it appears both Grace and Slate elevate his talent in all of their scenes together.
Jenny Slate is an actress I was not aware of before this movie, but she made a big impression on me here. There is something very Debra Winger-ish about her and I mean that in the best possible way. There is an earthiness and a naturalness to her performance. I walked into the theater a stranger to her talent and walked out a fan.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity.
It seems I have not seen a movie this good in some time. There have been some good movies in the past few months but not a really good movie like “Gifted.” I just hope the fact it is being released so early in the year does not make its impact fade when Awards season comes around. I definitely am not going to forget it.
“Gifted” is a gift to audiences everywhere. It has a strong story and a beautifully assembled cast both of which will have an impact on your head and your heart. Evans, Grace, Duncan and Slate are at the top of their game as is everyone else connected with this movie. If it is not playing in your area seek it out. It is worth your effort.
I scored “Gifted” a smart 8 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper