This review contains spoilers for the film.
“Gifted” is a dramatic film starring our famous Captain America, Chris Evans and the future star Mckenna Grace.
Young Mary Adler, Grace’s character, lives with her uncle, Frank, played by Evans. As Mary’s brilliance becomes apparent, Frank and his mother Evelyn butt heads over whether or not to send Mary to advanced schools — this is complicated by the family’s history with troubled geniuses. We learn that Diane, Mary’s mother, was also a math prodigy and killed herself at Frank’s house, leaving her baby on the couch.
Although she has good intentions, Evelyn appears cold and insensitive. She considers the discoveries Diane and Mary could have brought to the world more important than their lives.
The whole controversy of the film lies in this issue: should Frank let Mary get the education she needs to use her gifts or let her have a normal life like all the kids?
It’s a fair and difficult question, bringing the viewers to wonder what would they do under the film’s circumstances.
It made me think about what would my life look like without any friends, without any extra activities. If, like Mary’s mother, Diane, I only focused on math all my life? Suddenly, being a genius doesn’t sound so appealing.
We don’t know a lot about Diane’s personality, except that she made some poor decisions and worked on a math problem her whole life. This mystery was a smart choice in terms of story telling. It showed that nobody really knew Diane, not even her brother. Even at the end, no one really knows why she killed herself. This emphasizes the loneliness she must have felt and probably influenced Frank in his decision of raising Mary differently.
This past tragedy looms over the characters and raises the stakes in the debate over Mary’s future.
Frank and Evelyn’s fight for Mary eventually transitions into full-on litigation for custody of Mary. This is where the story stumbles a little — the lawyers propose that Mary just live with a foster family instead of her uncle or her grandmother and Frank accepts this deal. We don’t really know why and, predictably, he changes his mind just as easily when the time comes.
Mary’s reaction when Frank abandons her is spectacular, like Grace’s performance in the entire film. “Gifted” depends on Grace and Evan’s delivery and both actors give genuinely heart-shattering performances, Grace especially exceeding all expectations for an actor of only ten years-old.
The movie is set in Florida but was actually filmed in Savannah. The picturesque setting and cinematography add to the beauty of the film and a thrill when you can stop and think, “I live there!”
Overall, this was a fantastic film that I strongly recommend to anyone. It can, and should, make any viewer cry.