Without watching the trailer, the average person would assume that a movie called “Gifted” starring Chris Evans, most famously known for playing Captain America in the Marvel franchise, would be yet another superhero movie. Those people couldn’t be more wrong. While this movie does focus on a type of super power, the premise of the movie is a young girl who is a math prodigy.
In “Gifted,” Chris Evans plays a young uncle named Frank who has custody of his seven-year-old niece, Mary, who is a genius in mathematics. Mary’s mother, Frank’s sister, was also a math genius before taking her own life and leaving Mary in Frank’s care. Frank recognizes Mary’s gift but wants her to have a normal life and friends her own age, things her mother never had. However, the plan to send Mary to normal school backfires when the principal sees Mary’s ability and contacts Mary’s grandmother about putting her in a private school designed for children with special talents in certain fields.
The film revolves around the struggle between Frank and Mary’s grandmother, Evelyn, over what is best for Mary. Throughout the movie, the audience gets glimpses of the true natures of Frank, Evelyn and Mary. “Gifted” was filmed in such a way that it played on the emotions and instincts of the audience members and allowed them to draw their own conclusion about what was best for Mary.
What I love about this film is that it is funny, passionate, sad and relatable in many ways. This wasn’t just a movie about a really smart kid who wants to have a normal life. This was a movie about the bond between a child and a caregiver, the ability to embrace talents without sacrificing normalcy and the difference between doing what is best for someone and doing what is personally desired.
“Gifted” combines the talents of well-known actors such as Chris Evans and Octavia Spencer, who plays Frank’s neighbor Roberta, with less-familiar actors such as McKenna Grace, who plays Mary, and Lindsay Duncan, who plays Evelyn. The talents of the entire cast blended beautifully to tell the story of little Mary who gets caught in the middle of a battle between the comfortable, albeit occasionally boring, home with Uncle Frank that she’s known her whole life and a proper, stiff upbringing with her grandmother that would challenge her intellectually but wouldn’t allow for the fun, carefree lifestyle she is used to.
In addition to the beautifully done cinematic elements and filming, director Mark Webb and writer Tom Flynn went out of their way to make the movie relatable. There were many scenes in the movie that I could directly relate to my own life, even though I am not a prodigy. For example, Mary has a one-eyed cat named Fred whom she absolutely loves even though he’s different. This love and adoration of a pet is relevant for many people. Several elements of the story, including custody battles, the desire to be normal and wanting the love of a family ring true in the lives of many viewers, which makes this particular movie that much more enjoyable.
Overall, “Gifted” includes an interesting plot, a relatable storyline, talented cast members and a fascinating look into the life a prodigy. Because of the successful combination of the elements included and the rendition of the script, “Gifted” was an excellent movie. At only 1 hour and 41 minutes, I was honestly sad that the movie ended when it did. The movie was well resolved, and the ending was done well. However, I wanted to see more of the lives of Mary and Frank.