Want a movie that pulls at your heart strings and has you wanting to yell at the screen (you can’t because you’re in public, ha) when characters make the wrong choice? Then Gifted is just the right movie for you. Gifted hit theaters on April 7th and it took me a few weeks to see it, but i am glad I saw it in theaters! If you haven’t seen the movie or the trailer yet, click HERE. AS you can tell, the movie revolves around Mary and answering the question: who or what is best for her?
Mary Adler played by Mckenna Grace is a 7 year old math generous who is being raised solely by Frank (Chris Evans) who we learn is her uncle. Mary’s mother passed when she was young and just like Mary, she was a math whiz. Until this point, no one has truly known of Mary’s math skills, besides her uncle Frank as she has been homeschool. Now she must go to school and learn with all the other kids. Mary struggles with this as she has learned and knows far more than what the other kids in her grade are learning. It is her teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate) that notices right away how smart Mary is and even goes to Frank saying she is ‘gifted’. After an incident occurs Frank lands himself in the principal’s office where they discuss Mary’s future. Frank is determined to give Mary a normal life, at a normal school. This does not sit well with the principal, so she searches until she finds Frank’s mother, Evelyn (Lindsey Duncan). Evelyn is Frank’s British mother who has truly never met Mary, but now wants to raise her and have her finish out the work that her daughter – aka Mary’s mother – was working on prior to her death. The movie follows the path of the custody battle and the aftermath. The movie ended similar to how I thought it would, however the path that was taken to get there was not what I had expected.
Let’s start off by talking about the characters. Lindsey Duncan perfectly played the role of wicked grandmother Evelyn trying to take her granddaughter away from the man who raised her pretending to be in the best interested of the child. I truly loved that she was the only character with a British accent which I found fitting as she did present herself as superior to everyone else in the movie (not saying this is a British thing but it allowed the audience to see the difference between her and the others). At times you wanted to like her because she would do something nice, there always seemed to be a selfish reasoning behind it for her; in the end I think she got exactly what she deserved, maybe more. To my knowledge I have never seen Jenny Slate who played Mary’s teacher Bonnie in a movie before so I had nothing to compare her to. I thought she owned the quirky but loving teacher persona. Octavia Spenser played Roberta Taylor who was a neighbor of Mary and Franks. Roberta loves Mary as if she was her own so when the custody battle over Mary begins this takes a toll on Roberta. Octavia has been appearing in more and more movies lately, and I could not be more thrilled. The roles she takes on are always strong, independent women, with an opinion and love for those around them; her role in this movie was just that.
I was hesitant to see how Chris Evans was going to do in this movie. I have come to associate him with the Marvel movies for recently I have only scene him as Captain America. I think he did a stand up job playing the uncle trying to make the right decisions for her niece but also having no idea if what he is doing is right. There are a few scenes in the movie that I think any parent care relate to when he expressed this uncertainty of raising a child correctly. As the movie progressed I began to forget that Chris was Captain America and become used to him as Frank, Mary’s uncle. His character of them all I think is the most relatable as he shows true emotions, has breakdowns, admits when he is wrong, and is trying his best in all aspects of his life. My favorite character though, was Mckenna Grace who played Mary. She stole the show. Though she was this little math genius she was also this quirky lovable 7 year old girl who was happy being home-schooled, was okay with having only adults for friends, and had no problem standing up for what she believes in. It was heart breaking seeing the custody battle take a toll on Mary, but Mckenna Grace sold the role with her actions, words, and facial expressions. I can’t wait to see her in more movies in the future!
The movie dealt with a very real issue, custody battles and getting to see how it effects all sides was very moving. The movie also had a very powerful message. Mary, a little girl was a math whiz. A girl! Growing up math and sciences have been primarily more geared towards guys, though this is slowly changing. I think this movie serves as inspiration to young girls and encourages them to be not only be smart but be proud of it; even in science and math. This movie can serve as a good reminder that, it takes a village to raise a child, families are complicated, and just because you have money does NOT mean you will provide the best life for a child. With a small but talented cast, an interesting story and great messages how can one not like this movie? I would recommend people check out now or you will have to wait till it comes out on DVD!