Over the years, filmmakers have explored what makes the mind work and how complex it truly is. Films like “Amadeus” show the genius of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his connection with music.
The new movie “Gifted” not only puts its focus on the person’s extraordinary ability but also on the role her family plays to keep her grounded in reality.
The film centers on the story of Frank Adler (Chris Evans) and his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace), who he is raising on his own following the death of his sister. Frank’s sister was a brilliant mathematician. She expressed to Frank that she wanted her daughter to live a normal life where she could be a kid and not stuck in a classroom solving complex math equations.
After her first day of school, Mary demonstrates her extraordinary ability with numbers. Fearing that her educational needs are not being met the school reaches out Mary’s grandmother Evelyn Adler (Lindsay Duncan). Evelyn then sues her son for custody of Mary in court. With little choice left, Frank fights Evelyn for custody of the niece he has grown to love.
On the surface, “Gifted” seems like a copy of so many other movies that tell the story of a child prodigy and the unique ability that they have to share with the world.
The writers of this film shifted the focus from the ability of the child to the relationships the child has with her family and the world. That is what makes this story work and connect with audiences. Stories about talent and genius are commonplace but the connection people have with the world is something that everyone can relate to at any level.
Over the years moviegoers have come to know Evans as the plucky hero in the “Captain America” franchise or comic relief in such films like “The Losers.” In his latest role as the caring uncle, Evans shows a softer side that has a little bit of depth to it.
A scene that shows this is when Frank is called into the principal’s office to talk about the educational future of his niece. The principal thinks the way Frank is raising Mary is harmful. Frank then tells the principal that he has seen the damage from his family being labeled unique or extraordinary and stresses that a normal childhood with friendships is what Mary needs. Frank adds that when you separate a gifted person from society, the result is that you get a "congressman and not leaders.”
I hope that Evans continues with these roles and breaks away from this Marvel typecast he is becoming known for with the endless sequels.
We don’t need another Robert Downey Jr.
Gifted has a lot of great scenes that are heartwarming and wrap around you like a warm blanket. However, there are times that scenes seem incomplete or poorly cut. This left me wanting more from the story.
Despite a few flaws “Gifted” is good movie gives a lot for its audience to enjoy.
I give the film 3.5 mustaches.
This film runs 101 minutes and is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive material.
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