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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
At 10:00, Frank is supposed to be tightening screws on a motor boat engine. When he moves his hand, he has been twisting the screwdriver above a solid plastic cowling, which has no screw holes. See more »
Gifted is a story with not a lot of surprise elements, but it wins the audience over with its powerful statement, outstanding acting and stunning cinematography. Mainly, Gifted has a very dramatic story line. However, Gifted offers much more then that. Viewers also get a subplot of romance, friendship and strong family values as well as some comedy here and there to keep a dramatic movie light.
The plot begins when Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) starts first grade. She isn't like the other kids in her class. Her teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate) soon learns that Mary turns out to be a genius in mathematics. She can easily do equations higher than high school level. Despite her clear giftedness, Mary's uncle, Frank (Chris Evans) refuses to put Maryin a school for gifted children, trying to keep the girl's life normal. Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), Mary's grandmother insists on making her do mathematics around the clock and training her to be a math prodigy. What follows is a custody battle between the two for Mary.
My favorite scene really stands out due to remarkable lighting and camera work. The scene really doesn't contribute to the plot, but the cinematography makes it one of the most excellent in the film. The scene shows Mary riding on Frank's shoulders. Behind them, a giant sunset completely fills the sky. The lighting from the setting sun comes out stunningly dazzling. Even though it doesn't add to the complexity of the story, the scene is very impressive and demonstrates the closeness of the uncle and his niece.
One of Gifted's weak points waters down to the story. Even though the film is unique from other stories about genius kids, by focusing on the family values and relationships instead of Mary's exceptional mathematical skills, it still comes out very predictable and rather simple. The main conflict never really feels like a major issue but rather, just a side story. Despite those issues, Gifted still entertains through the acting. All the actors deliver outstanding performances. Mckenna Grace, despite being only 10-years-old, completely steals the show. Never does the acting feel forced and the actors seem to authentically connect with their characters and have a true bond on-screen.
There are a few adult references in the film, but nothing too worry about. I recommend this for ages 8 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars because, although the story needs work, the acting and cinematography make Gifted a very entertaining and memorable film.
By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.
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