What it's about:
Frank Adler is a single man raising a child prodigy—his spirited young niece Mary—in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s prodigious mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn, whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary.
What we thought:
The saying goes: “Nobody likes a smart ass” but I’ve got to be honest, this smart ass will completely steal your heart in the best ways.
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is tasked with taking care of his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace), who just so happens to be child mathematical prodigy. So, what do you do with a 7-year-old who is mentally way above her biological age? Attempt to give her a some-what ‘normal’ life or take advantage of her gift and submerge her into a top school for gifted to solve some of the all time great problems in mathematics.
The acting in this film is by far better than you’d expect. Evans is great in his role as Frank and the chemistry between him and Grace is what makes this film so easy and enjoyable to watch.
It can’t be an easy task to play a 7-year-old with such a special gift, Grace does it with complete ease. Her sarcastic and sometimes jaded sense of humour will certainly keep you entertained, even at the most awkward of times.
Add English grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) and you have a recipe of conflict that you can’t help but feel for. While each character deals with the same problem in different ways it all comes down to what’s best for the child and anyone can pretty much relate to that.
Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank’s landlady but we soon find out she is so much more than that. And while she may have a small role, she manages to make a big impression every time she’s in a scene. As does Mary’s teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), small roles can sometimes make the biggest impact.
Gifted is beautifully balanced between the mathematical side as well as the artistic side. On the one hand Mary’s mind is filled with mathematical equations waiting to be solved; on the other hand she’s just a 7-year-old kid who loves a one-eyed cat named Fred.
Marc Webb was also able to conceptualise and execute every feeling the characters experience brilliantly. Whether it was anger, happiness, sadness, confusion and so forth, you feel it as much as the actors do onscreen.
Gifted is nothing flashy but it’s a good drama that will make you laugh, cry and leave with a lasting impression of delight.