Popcorn Picks Review: “Gifted”


Photo credit/ Elizabeth Carlson

Photo credit to Fox Searchlight Productions Graphic

Bethany Wade, Asst. Photography Editor

For a film all about a family of geniuses, it’s a shame “Gifted” is a very simple story.

Fox Searchlight’s latest film, “Gifted” is about a seven-year-old math prodigy, Mary, played by the young McKenna Grace, being raised by her uncle Frank, played by Chris Evans, after her mother’s untimely death. When Frank’s mother Evelyn, played by Lindsay Duncan, becomes aware of Mary’s gifts, a long and painful court battle ensues to determine who will raise Mary better.

The advertisements for this film fail to reveal how significant the court case is to the plot, which leaves the viewer in for a surprise as they watch this film. It was a nice treat to see a more heartfelt courtroom drama.

Chris Evans doesn’t give the greatest performance in this film, but he does seem like the perfect match for Grace as Mary. Grace is an extremely talented girl, with few major screen credits to date besides a large role on “The Young & The Restless.” If this film showcases a fraction of her talent, she has a bright future in Hollywood.

Another unexpected shining star was Jenny Slate, who plays Mary’s teacher Bonnie Stevenson. Slate is traditionally known for her comedic acting, and while her acting did offer some comedic relief to the heavy drama, she played her part well.

The plot of the story is simple, but the dialogue makes this movie come to life. Writer Tom Flynn created dimensional characters that are struggling to deal with their own problems, as well as the inter-family fighting the movie’s conflict revolves around. We never are confused by a character’s motivations; we always know what they’re thinking and why. This is not a good thing for most films, but in this film it works well.

Director Marc Webb, the man behind “(500) Days of Summer” and both “Amazing Spider-man” reboots, will be forgotten as the director for this film, just like those others. His choice of shots are very bland. As a director, there is some creative control allowed in filmmaking, but it seems like Webb forgot about that.

Overall, this film fills the heart up with a good inspirational story. It won’t be remembered in years to come, but it leaves you feeling satisfied in the end with the cute story and good acting.

Rating: Three and a half kernels out of five.

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Twitter: @BethanyWadeTWW