Synopsis: Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlord and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well. Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer)
Gifted has been described as a good-hearted family drama that’s a bit like Good Will Hunting for the elementary school set. Octavia Spencer also starred in Hidden Figures, another film focusing on females math prodigies.
This movie is so well-casted. Once again, Chris Evans (known for his role as Captain America) plays a heroic father-figure and has an incredible bond with his adorable niece Mary, as well as his British mom Evelyn.
Jenny Slate who plays Bonnie screams the epitome of teacher. And the chemistry you see on-screen between the 35 year old actors wasn’t just acting for the camera. Evans and Slate broke up in February after dating for close to a year. They pair reunited on the red carpet at the premiere.
The plot is heavy so fortunately there’s just the right dose of comic relief. Mary has some memorable lines. Dressed for her first day of public school in a red dress, she declares to Uncle Frank that she “looks like a Disney character.” She’s a math wiz who only wants to know what the word “at nauseum” means because Frank has said it while talking to her. The scene in the hospital waiting room brings a smile to your face. She tells a professor at MIT, “No one likes a smart ass.”
The movie is so incredibly real. The first grader re-wears some of the same shirts in different scenes. I was distracted by Mary missing two front teeth, wondering how they were able to film in its entirety before the young actress’ teeth grown up teeth grew in.
For those who enjoy law shows, the opposing attorneys and judge are very convincing in the courtroom scenes.
Rated PG-13, Gifted opens this Friday, April 7th in select cities Friday including New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia and goes nationwide April 12. It has a running time of 101 minutes. Bring tissues.