Gifted Review

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Captain America takes a break from the Avengers to care for his gifted niece?!

In the movie Gifted, Captain America struggles to maintain a normal life hiding out in a small Florida town while raising his prodigy of a niece, Mary. That makes the movie sound a lot cooler, doesn’t it?  Actually, it’s just Chris Evans playing a normal guy named Frank who is struggling to maintain a normal life raising his prodigal niece, Mary, in a small Florida town.  So, it’s still kind of cool.  Frank is a laid-back fellow who through some unfortunate circumstances has come to be the caretaker of his niece Mary.  Mary is only 7 years old but she is brilliant, especially in mathematics.  They both seem to prefer the slower paced “normal” lifestyle of Florida seemingly.  However, it’s hard not to get attention when you have a young child that is so smart.  Evelyn, Franks mother and Mary’s grandmother, finds out about her genius granddaughter.  She wants more for Mary than an average schooling.  Her plans for Mary are to take her away from her normal life and place her in a specialized education program designed to nurture her mathematical abilities.  Mary needs that special attention if she is going to become the next Einstein.

This has all the soundings of a made for TV Hallmark movie. Fortunately, it’s a lot better than that.  I don’t think the trailers for this movie do it much justice.  It comes off as boring when it was pretty intriguing.  There were concerns about the child actress McKenna Grace being likeable.  That’s always a primary point of emphasis when it comes to these child actors but McKenna is a very cute kid who is very likeable.  What about Chris Evans? He can only play Captain America, right?  Wrong.  He displays acting range here as a very philosophical Henry David Thoreau type transcendentalist man who just wants a peaceful life for Mary and himself.  He is amazing in this movie. Hopefully he gets more opportunities to do different stuff besides Captain America.  I still love him as Captain though.  Even the supporting actresses are great in Gifted.  Lindsay Duncan was enjoyable to watch as Evelyn.  You think that you will hate her as the movie introduces her but you come to like her more as the movie progresses.  Jenny Slate as Mary’s teacher and Octavia Spencer as Frank’s neighbor were also very solid in their roles.

There isn’t much to this movie, cinematography wise but it we still get some nice shots here and there. The shot of Mary and Frank against the sunset was very beautiful and well thought out.   We get moments like that here and there throughout this movie that really showcase the special bond between these two.  At a little more than an hour and a half run time, this movie gets to the point fast.  None of it seems too drawn out so this is appreciated.  Even the court room drama isn’t played out very long.

Overall a solid film. This isn’t a unique story by any means.  It doesn’t necessarily go the way you think it might go towards the ending even if the final resolution may not be surprising.  It’ easy to feel a disconnect when someone plays a prodigy in these types of movies, but Chris Evans and McKenna Grace do an outstanding job in keeping you invested in them.  They bring a very humanizing, likeable quality to the big screen.  Gifted isn’t one of the more widely marketed films out there.  It’s tough to suggest this type of film to most people because it’s not your standard fare that people want to pay to see typically.  However, it’s a very touching movie and offers a nice alternative from some of the super hero stuff we get.  Chris Evans makes this very watchable.  I say go check this out if you can.

Grade: B-

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