Math! The dreaded court system! Family turmoil!
BQB here with a review of Gifted.
In this released too early Oscar bait “everyone show off their dope ass acting skills” drama, Chris Evans takes off his Captain America uniform to play Frank Adler, a boat repairman earning a modest living while being the guardian of his precocious seven year old niece, Mary (McKenna Grace).
Shenanigans ensue when Mary’s teacher, Miss Stevenson (Jenny Slate) begins making noise about how Mary is a super intelligent math genius and should be put into a gifted program. Frank wants no part of this as he fears that what Mary will gain in brainpower she will loose in humanity/social skills. Why become a big time egghead if you never make any friends or learn how to interact with people on a personal level?
Alas, Miss Stevenson’s meddling reaches the ears of Frank’s domineering, super bitch on steroids mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who has mad loot and can afford a big fancy lawyer to challenge Frank’s custody on the grounds that he sucks as a parent because the kid should be learning at a school for brainiacs and not at a regular school for big dumb dummies.
An emotional battle royale ensues, both in and out of the courtroom. As a viewer, you’re torn, because part of you knows that true genius is such a rare gift that to ignore it is a sin. On the other hand, we’ve all met that doofus who can do long division in his sleep but can’t tie his shoes.
Thus, the story is a very emotional one because both sides have a point. Who’s right? Maybe they both are. Maybe no one. You get to decide.
Chris Evans gets to shine without super tights on, proving to Hollywood he has the acting chops necessary to be put onto the Oscar path. Meanwhile, although Jenny Slate has been in a lot of low key projects since her SNL days, this is the first film I personally have seen her where she isn’t completely goofy but rather, is a real person. You sense the feeling that she really believed she was helping and now feels bad that she caused such a bru ha ha.
Oh, and Oscar favorite star Octavia Spencer stars as Frank’s friend/next door neighbor/Mary’s babysitter. She’s great in this role, providing the motherly influence that Mary is sorely missing.
Oh, and McKenna herself. The kid’s got moxie. Here’s hoping that she heeds the movie’s advice. Learn how to balance greatness at an early age with the need to grow up and become a normal person, not a wacko who can’t deal. At any rate, the kid’s got a future.
However, the true star of the film is Fred the One-Eyed Cat. He deserves a best cat actor award or at the very least, a stylish eyepatch. “I think therefore I am Fred.”
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Great date film. Sad yet uplifting. Asks a lot of questions about the importance of love, life, happiness, and family. Above all, informs us that true greatness in anything often involves a great deal of sacrifice, dedication and discipline, ultimately consuming the overachiever.
In other words, being smarter than everyone else is an epically rough cross to bear. Tell me about it. Story of my life.