‘Gifted’ stars Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace as uncle and niece who give us, the audience, sweet moments of chemistry as Evans’ boat mechanic, Frank Adler, does everything to keep Grace’s stubborn, yet extremely intelligent Mary, happy. Whenever we see those moments (that only Fox Searchlight Pictures could show), we feel the heart and emotion shine through. Especially when we have to sit through scenes of courtroom drama that feel real.
I expected ‘Gifted’ to be a great movie; it has the makings of a family drama injected with innocent and cutesy comedy. However, it can be boring when we see the courtroom scenes take place. Not to say that movies centered around child custody should go without a courtroom scene here and there, these scenes just feel tedious and are meant to drive the plot forward. Evans does give a great performance, along with Grace, who adds a bit of “I-Don’t-Want-To-Be-Here” attitude to her very likable performance.
Jenny Slate also appears as Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, who is written to be more of a love interest for Frank (Add to the fact that Evans and Slate are a real-life couple), yet understands Mary’s potential as much as Frank’s and cares for her as much as she cares for her students. The thing about Mary is she, like her mother, and Frank’s sister, Diane (who tragically ended her life when Mary was born) is extremely gifted at mathematics and can solve any problem you give her, no matter how difficult.
This ends up causing problems for Frank when his mother, Evelyn, (Lindsay Duncan) shows up to his doorstep with plans to reclaim Mary in a custody battle saying that Mary should not be raised in a living condition such as his and instead do what Diane has always done, go to a major school and solve complex equations . However, he feels that Diane’s best interest was for Mary “to be a kid and make friends like all the other children”.
‘Gifted’ has a very touching story under its belt, and even ended up touching me as much as I wanted. It’s not the most compelling movie in existence, but it struck me as sweet and harmless. Octavia Spencer also plays in this film as Frank’s next-door neighbor, Roberta Taylor, who shows up to hassle him, and becomes a friend to Mary.