It was made very clear to me ridiculously ahead of time by my Chris Evans obsessed little cousin that I must do everything in my power, which is not much, to ensure I was assigned this film. Fortunately for me, once I saw the heartwarming preview, I was sold on my forced fate. Director Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spider-Man) continually showcases his affinity for films with realistic and clever writing, and his directing style gravitates toward more organic acting which is exemplary in Gifted. Along with writer Tom Flynn, Webb ensures that this film leaves a mark on its audience, parents in particular (not that I would know, I’m guessing).
In Gifted, Chris Evans’ character, Frank Adler, has taken it upon himself to raise his niece Mary, admirably and charismatically played by McKenna Grace, after his sister’s suicide. In order to keep Mary under his care and leading an ordinary life, he must hide her extraordinary mathematical talents. After Mary shows off on her first day of school to Ms. Stevenson, played by one of my faves Jenny Slate (please watch Obvious Child,) they get on both the school’s principal and Mary’s estranged grandmother’s radar. This culminates in a custody battle for Mary, between grandmother and Frank where her happiness, and her potential greatness are all at stake.
Evans and Grace are of course the heart of the movie, and their natural rapport allows for a touching authenticity for the audience, which I’m sure is heartbroken at the moment of their separation. One scene in particular was amazingly done; at one point Frank and Mary, whom we only see as silhouettes with a sunset as their backdrop, discuss God and death. From this, you can infer not only that Evans and his tiny co-star make a better team than he and all of the Avengers, but also how deep the characters’ relationship is and how great of an uncle Frank really is for Mary. The rest of the ensemble, rounded out by Octavia Spencer and Lindsay Duncan, contribute stellar performances and characters that will help Mary throughout her brilliant life despite their varying goals for her.
This film proves to be another interesting choice in Chris Evans’ filmography. While the Avengers and Captain America star could easily be busting out blockbuster after blockbuster and allow himself to be typecast into generic big budget films, he is opting to create a more diverse body of work with movies like Gifted as well as 2013’s post-apocalyptic thriller Snowpiercer. At times the film and its themes of parental struggles, the dilemma of raising a happy yet fulfilled and talented child, reminded me of one of my favorite films of last year, Captain Fantastic. Gifted is noticeably a passion project for everyone involved; small details such as Frank’s shirt being inside out due to his state of mind after losing Mary, or Mary and her tutors drinking Smart Water, along with countless other careful considerations, great acting and writing, helped form a beautiful movie.
|Release Date:||April 7th, 2017|
|Author:||Roxy De La Rosa|