I mentioned in a social media post how excited I was about Gifted before I saw it, and now that I have…UGH! Just stop me now, it was so good! If you aren’t aware of this film (shame on you), it’s about a gifted child that has a penchant for math and a fucked up family. Her guardian is a man with a golden heart and no clue.
*Ps, because it’s a movie review, of course there will be spoilers. I’ll try not to give away the really good stuff.*
This film has a few names in it, one of which is my personal favorite human being. It stars Chris Evans as Frank, the optimistic yet troubled uncle of Mary, Mckenna Grace, the young and innocent prodigy. Jenny Slate is Bonnie, her teacher and Chris’ love interest. Lindsay Duncan is Mckenna’s grandmother or Evelyn (see the movie, you’ll get it). And last but not least, Octavia Spencer is the passionate and lovable neighbor, Roberta. Oh! There is one other notable character. Fred the monocular feline.
This cast works together in an easy way that make their troubles seem believable and personal to whoever watches the movie. Even the parts that feel purposefully jilted because of differing opinions and lifestyles flow through their reality without breaking the illusion. From the very beginning, Frank and Mary’s familiar banter have you seeing a private, domestic part of their relationship.
These two have a scarily co-dependent thing going on, probably because Frank has kept Mary mostly a recluse until the opening of the movie at age 7 for her own well-being. Now, it’s time for Mary to try public school. Oh, no. That creates a whole world of hurt that I won’t get into but it does bring Bonnie and Evelyn into the mix.
Bonnie is genuine and guarded in her own ways. She wants to help Mary and Frank and inadvertently ends up causing them more trouble. The way I see it is, they would’ve had to come to terms with Mary’s mind at some point. Bonnie just happened to be the one to light the match. Then, when her and Frank develop feelings, she becomes someone he can vent to, and I love her for that.
Evelyn on the other hand needs to get herself together. I mean, good Lord. She’s one of those people that never should’ve been a mother, and if you asked her, she’d say the same. She’s not evil persay, she’s just selfish and lacks maternal instincts. Evelyn and Frank go at it during the entirety of the film, and in the end it doesn’t really matter who’s right because all of it is hurting Mary.
Which is the point of the movie. They all sort of realize that at some point I think, except for Roberta, she knew all along. Frank especially goes through a rollercoaster. He does the wrong thing, think it’s the right thing. Ugh, it’s just so painful.
I do NOT cry at sad movies. I don’t. But I teared up a bit at this one. Dang you Chris Evans.
It poses an obvious delima about which is more important, a single human life, or the future of human kind. It’s not the first time this question has been brought to us. It’s in every war movie, every AI film, every dystopian movie. But this isn’t about robots, or the savagery of war, it’s a little girl.
The other aspect of this movie is, what is family? Frank is merely Mary’s uncle and Evelyn is her grandmother. Neither is her mother or father. Who’s more family to her? Or is it a set of strangers with a nice house and smiles? Roberta helped raise her for 7 years but has zero say in her life.
If you go, prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and think really hard.