Title – Gifted (2017)
Director – Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer)
Cast – Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer
Plot – Child genius Mary Adler (Mckenna) finds her live being turned upside down after her long absent grandmother Evelyn (Duncan) seeks custody of her after years of Mary being under the care of her loving uncle Frank (Evans).
“He’s a good person. He wanted me before I was smart”
Review by Eddie on 22/05/2018
Head into Gifted expecting to not be surprised where it takes you and you’ll find Marc Webb’s Chris Evans led heart-warmer being one of 2017’s most gently affecting and sweet tales.
Back behind the director’s chair for the first time since the sadly lacklustre Amazing Spider-Man follow The Rise of Electro, Webb has returned to his lower budget roots that were so successful for him with his breakout 2009 hit 500 Days of Summer and it’s great to see the talented filmmaker once more showcasing his ability to craft loveable characters and deliver a breezy narrative that would only not affect those with a heart of stone.
Telling the story of Evan’s kind-hearted university professor turned boat repairman Frank Adler, who has found himself in charge of his late sister’s genius in the making daughter Mary (played brilliantly by child actress Mckenna Grace, think a young Dakota Fanning), Webb’s film may never reach the great heights of the colossal’s of the mismatched pair sub-genre but it’s so well-spirited and well-delivered that you really don’t mind.
When Frank and Mary’s lives are upturned by the arrival of Frank’s mother Evelyn, who wants to take Mary under her wing and unleash her full mathematical powers on the world, fighting against Frank’s wishes to allow Mary to live a relatively normal childhood, you can sense exactly where the film is going and predict many of the outcomes from a mile away but in true crowd-pleasing fashion, Gifted elevates itself from what could’ve easily been misguided sentiment and schmaltz to earn all the feels it gives you.
Webb gets the best out of Mckenna’s fresh-faced turn, while it’s great to see Evan’s once more away from the Captain America shield and spandex to deliver one of his best turns away from the Marvel universe. Evan’s role in the Marvel behemoth has been both a blessing and a curse for the actor who will likely always face an uphill battle to get away from his breakout role but Gifted ranks up there as one of the talented performers best roles outside of non-Marvel films like Sunshine, Snowpiercer and the criminally underseen Puncture.
Final Say –
There’s a chance Gifted could’ve been something truly special had it veered away from genre trappings like unnecessarily tacked on romances and kindly neighbours but Marc Webb’s film is an affecting, well-acted and often touching tale of love, kindness and the bond of a family and acts as one of the most easy to like releases of the 2017 calendar year.
3 ½ one-eyed cats out of 5