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Gifted (2017)

PG-13 | | Drama | 12 April 2017 (USA)
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Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.

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265 ( 29)
2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Mary Adler (as McKenna Grace)
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Judge Edward Nichols
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Aubrey Highsmith
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Carly Rosen
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Lijuan
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Bradley Pollard
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Storyline

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 landlady 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. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

How do you create an ordinary life for an extraordinary girl

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Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive material | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

12 April 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un don excepcional  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$446,380 (USA) (7 April 2017)

Gross:

$24,801,212 (USA) (24 August 2017)
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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

'Gifted' is director Marc Webb's first original film since (500) Days of Summer (2009). See more »

Goofs

When changing camera angles at the Psychologist's office, 2 of the blocks on the table disappear. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Frank Adler: [through the door] Hey! Hey, come on. Let's move!
Mary Adler: No!
Frank Adler: Let me see.
Mary Adler: No.
Frank Adler: Come on, I made you special breakfast.
Mary Adler: You can't cook.
Frank Adler: Hey, Mary, open up.
[as she emerges]
Frank Adler: You look beautiful.
[...]
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Connections

References SpongeBob SquarePants (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

This Is How You Walk On
Written and Performed by Gary Lightbody (as Lightbody) and John McDaid (as McDaid)
Produced by John McDaid
Courtesy of Polydor Ltd. (UK)
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User Reviews

 
how do we choose who chooses?
6 April 2017 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. The "right" choice isn't always obvious. Things get more complicated when even the "best" choice isn't clear. Place a young child at the heart of that decision tree, and the result may yield emotional turmoil and an abundance of moral high ground and judgment. Such best intentions are at the core of this latest from director Marc Webb (his first feature since 500 Days of Summer) and writer Tom Flynn.

Frank (Chris Evans) is raising his 10 year old child prodigy niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in low-key small town Florida. The circumstances that brought the two of them together aren't initially known, but are explained in a poignant moment later in the film. Frank has been home-schooling Mary and now believes it's time she transitions to public school for the socialization aspect … "try being a kid for once" he urges. Of course, Mary's teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate, Obvious Child) immediately realizes Mary is special, and just like that, the wheels of the educational system are in motion to explain to Frank why they know what's best for Mary … a high-fallutin private school where she can be all she can be.

There is a really nice and enjoyable story here of Uncle Frank dedicated to doing what he thinks is best for bright and charming and spirited young Mary, but it all comes crashing down when the bureaucrats, and ultimately Frank's mother (Lindsay Duncan), get involved. When the adults can't agree on the best route for Mary, a courtroom battle ensues. Ms. Duncan gets a witness scene reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and her overall performance stands in effective stark contrast to the warm fuzzies of Mr. Evans.

The supporting cast contributes nicely, though Octavia Spencer's role as kindly neighbor Roberta is more limited than it should be, and the love connection between Evans and Ms. Slate could have easily been omitted - but she is so pleasant on screen, that we don't mind at all. Glenn Plummer and John Finn are the attorneys who go to war, and Fred the one-eyed cat also gets plenty of screen time. But there is little doubt that the movie really belongs to the effervescent Miss Grace. She nails the back and forth between kid and genius, and we never doubt her sincerity.

Child prodigies have been explored through other fine movies such as Little Man Tate, Searching for Bobby Fisher, and Shine, and while this one may run a bit heavier on melodrama, but it's worthy of that group. The best discussions after this movie would revolve around what's best for the child. Should she be deprived of "higher" education in order to live within a more "normal" social environment? Are any of the adults more interested in their own ego than in what's in the child's best interest? Home school vs public school vs private school is always good for some fireworks, and everyone has their own thoughts. So how do we decide who gets to decide? Does a parent get the final say on their child – even if their motivations may be in doubt? Should every kid be pushed to their academic – or artistic – or athletic – limits? The questions are many and the answers are complicated. There is a great line in the film that itself is worthy of conversation: "You got on the bad side of a small-minded person with authority". Yikes. Even Cat Stevens' great song "The Wind" can't soften that.


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