I missed Gifted in theaters so I was able to rent it this past weekend and wanted to give my thoughts. The trailer looked fine, though I just knew this was the type of movie to have me bawling my eyes out.
We meet a man named Frank (Chris Evans) who is raising his niece Mary (McKenna Grace), a seven-year-old genius. As the story unfolds, we watch Frank struggle with trying to challenge Mary but also give her a decent childhood. We also discover what happened to Mary’s parents. A lot of this is discovered through Mary’s teacher (played by Evans’ former real life sweetheart Jenny Slate). We also have Lindsay Duncan as Frank’s mother and Octavia Spencer as a friendly neighbor and sometimes babysitter.
This movie delivers exactly what you’d expect. Nothing more, nothing less. It gives us a sweet story about the connection between uncle and niece, with plenty of moments that tug on your heartstrings. If you want to cry, this movie will likely do that for you.
It’s anchored by great performances from Chris Evans and McKenna Grace. Little Grace was seen in Mr. Church but she really steals the show here, charming and witty and authentic. The real story though is Evans, who has a more nuanced performance, as what it’s like for a normal guy to raise a genius and try to acclimate her to the world. It’s a nice change of pace from Captain America.
I watched this movie on a Sunday afternoon and that’s exactly what this is made for. It’s not a big screen experience, it’s something to chill and watch after you eat lunch on a slow afternoon.
What doesn’t work?
This movie doesn’t deliver anything special. It’s good but not great.
One disappointment is Octavia Spencer, who has delivered some incredible performances in movies just like this. Here, though, she literally does nothing of importance but only serves to have another adult in the picture to react to the events taking place. It’s a bummer that she’s underused here.
Gifted is also predictable, you know exactly what is going to happen from the opening conflict. Not a major problem but it definitely docks a few points.
Gifted is perfectly mediocre. A predictable but charming story, with a great emotional anchor in Chris Evans and McKenna Grace. Ideal for a chill afternoon, safe for families and kids.