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Film Review: 'Gifted' Typical Feel Good Flick, That's Not Bad Thing

by Todd A. Smith


Chris Evans as Frank and McKenna Grace as Mary in the film “Gifted” (Photo Credit: Wilson Webb/2017 20th Century Fox Film Corporation).



Feel Good Affair 


Feel good movies like “Gifted” often get a bad wrap from film critics.

Some call them sappy.

Some call them predictable.

But some fail to see why many go to movie theaters on the weekend, and that is to escape reality and come out of the theater feeling better than they did when they entered.

“Gifted” will make everyone feel good and will be enjoyable for adults and children alike.

In the Marc Webb-directed film “Gifted,” Mary (McKenna Grace) is a very frustrated first grader.

After the suicide death of her mathematical genius mother, Mary is raised by her uncle Frank (Chris Evans) and home schooled by him as well.

In an effort to give her some semblance of a normal childhood, which was denied to his sister, Frank enrolls Mary into a public Florida elementary school, much to the dismay of his landlord and friend Roberta (Octavia Spencer).

Roberta knows that Mary is a mathematical genius like her mother and a normal public school will not challenge her intellectually.

The slow pace of the public elementary school will only maker her feel more abnormal and bring negative attention to Frank’s custody of his niece and his living conditions.

Like a prophet, Roberta’s premonition comes to fruition.

Mary’s absentee maternal grandmother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) comes into the picture after she realizes that Mary has the same gifts as her daughter.

Evelyn wants to take Mary back with her to Boston so that she can grow up in an affluent setting with a home piano and the best schools.

First grade teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) wants Mary to attend a prestigious private school for gifted children and remain in Florida.

Likewise, Frank and Mary want to stay in Florida around the people that have cared for Mary before her gifts were discovered.

The tug of war between warring factions of the family will test the family like they have not been tested in many years.

“Gifted” is an uplifting, humorous, and sometimes upsetting cautionary tale on childrearing, success and balance in life.

Although there is obviously no one correct way to raise a child, in order for them to live prosperous and enjoyable lives, parents have to instill hard work but not at the expense of them being a child.

Mary’s deceased mother was raised only to be a world-renowned mathematician at the expense of developing friends and social skills to really survive in the real world.

Unfortunately, some children were raised to have too much fun with not enough emphasis placed on scholastic achievement.

Striking the right delicate balance is what is necessary to raise a healthy and successful child and that is what Frank is desperately trying to give his niece per the wishes of his late sister.

“Gifted” boasts great acting performances by its cast.

Grace is brilliant, sometimes obnoxious, bratty and funny simultaneously.

What is surprising is the acting depth of Evans who is known more for superhero movies like “Captain America” than for pure acting performances.

His portrayal of a depressed boat mechanic is very believable down to his dirty fingernails.

Unfortunately, “Gifted” is very predictable as most feel-good movies are.

However, moviegoers do not attend feel-good movies for suspense.   They attend those movies to walk out with a smile on their face.

“Gifted” accomplishes that task, while also teaching a lesson on the necessity to raise well-rounded children.







This article was published on Friday 14 April, 2017.
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