Gifted Review

Frank Adler (Evans) is trying to give his niece, Mary(Grace), a normal childhood; the only thing is that Mary isn’t normal. Mary is a spirited young girl who happens to be a child prodigy, making raising her and educating her a hard task for Frank, who also wants to live his life. Frank’s plans get thrown out the window when Mary’s abilities attract the attention of Frank’s mother, Mary’s Grandmother Evelyn (Duncan), who wants to encourage the prodigy in Mary. With the two opposing beliefs un-yielding, it leads to a custody battle with Frank and Evelyn believing they know what’s best for Mary. Directed by Marc Webb, Gifted stars Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Glenn Plummer, Julie Ann Emery, and Joe Chrest

Image via Fox Searchlight

This story might sound familiar, with aspects of the custody battle and child prodigies being seen in plenty of films but somehow Gifted feels fresh. The dynamic between Frank and Mary is brilliant in the way it feel intimate and small, yet emotionally powerful. The courtroom scenes present a surprising insight into the life of Frank and his family, exploring the life of a gifted child whilst still offering some shocking twist not uncommon in a courtroom drama. Behind all the drama there is heart and charm, mostly coming from McKenna Grace and the way she innocently interacts with the other characters. She brings so much feeling to so many scenes it was hard not to sit there and smile at her.

Image via Fox Searchlight

Gifted is a smaller story that focuses solely on the characters, which is a positive due to how incredible the cast is. McKenna Grace is 100% the show stealer, with her quick-witted one-liners, her child like innocence and her lack of social skills combine to make an adorable and humorous character. For such a young actress she had immense talent that makes the movie as charming as it is. It is great to see Chris Evans take on other roles beside Captain America, where he can showcase some of the talent he has in a more dramatic and light-hearted setting. He does have some deep emotional moments throughout Gifted, but he also has a lot of fun with the character of Frank, and with his back and forth with Grace, Evans delivers a fantastic performance. If you are a fan of Parks and Recreation you might struggle early in the film with Jenny Slate playing a primary school teacher but this is a full transformation to her character in Parks and Rec, who was just the worst. She definitely had depth in her ability as an actress and had a fantastic rapport with Evans. The two of them were able to build a believable relationship, which wasn’t hard to believe given the two developed into a relationship during the filming.


Image via Fox Searchlight

In his first film since The Amazing Spider-Man 2 Marc Webb appears to be washing that stick off by taking some different filmmaking styles on a simple story. The film takes an interesting stance by painting the story as Frank and Mary against the world, and portrays Evelyn as the villain of the movie. She has her own motives for her actions but Webb decides to not make the audience empathise with her, she has her reasons but they aren’t in Mary or the audience interests. This is a fascinating story telling technique to not try and fully humanise Evelyn. The film also maintains a somewhat light-hearted feel to it, never turning into a drama but also not a full on comedy. It is because of this I refer to the film as a ‘nice’ film. There is nothing wrong with watching a film that leaves a nice feeling inside of you.


Image via Fox Searchlight

Sometimes you just want to sit down and watch a movie that will make you feel good, a ‘nice’ movie and that is exactly what Gifted is. You will laugh and you will cry at this charming and easy watching film. In fact you will most likely sit there and smile until it is time to get emotional, until the smile come back on your face. It is a simple film that works and will leave you with a good feeling.


See it if you enjoy charming smaller films, that can have an emotional impact on you.

Image via Fox Searchlight

Gifted scored an 8/10


Thanks for reading my review of Gifted. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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9 thoughts on “Gifted Review

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    1. Thanks I am glad you like them. It is definitely a movie more people should see. It will probably get a bigger audience on a streaming service but these smaller films need to be made more often. Not every movie needs have a deep meaning or message. Sometimes just be a fun film.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with you, this was a nice, heartwarming movie. I felt that the direction and/or editing of this movie was quite poor, but the source material and high quality actors brought to life something very special.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciated the direction of Gifted mostly because I felt that Marc Webb wanted to tell a story. Often in small films like this the directors can be too smart for their own good and ruin a good film with hidden interpretations. I also think there are some really well directed scenes such as the one with Frank and Mary at the beach at sunset. Thanks for the comment

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m going to agree with you here. thinking about it more I am leaning towards editing issues. There were some odd cut placements and various other odd choices. I loved the movie though, don’t get me wrong. It’s just something that stood out to me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And I can see what you mean with the editing. There were definitely some moments that I can think of now that you bring that up. Don’t worry just because you have some criticism doesn’t mean you can’t love something. This is a common issue we have as film fans.

        Liked by 1 person

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