Director: Marc Webb
Cast: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Octavia Spencer, Lindsay Duncan and Jenny Slate
Gifted is a tear-jerking emotional roller-coaster from Marc Webb – who also directed 500 Days of Summer. The movie follows Frank Adler, played by Chris Evans, as he single handedly raises, Mary Adler, played by Mckenna Grace. We are thrown into the thick of it when Frank decides it’s time to end Mary’s homeschooling journey and take her to a “real school”. Immediately Webb entices his audience with subtle mysteries about Mary’s origins.
As the story unfolds we find out that Mary is indeed Gifted, but that she might not be the only one. And just before the film turns into some ridiculous meta-human case study, Webb unveils enough of a back story to keep the audience warm. Because this film is a drama it has ample amount of time to develop the characters well. Webb has always been more than capable of reaching beyond the screen and pulling at an audience’s heart strings and he was able to do it again here.
The characters were developed in such a subtle and natural way that it did not take away from the drama of the film. I found myself tearing up at the most intense points in the film and I felt a genuine connection with the characters. Naturally those who relate to Mary in any way will feel the most intense connection, but her acting is hard to detach from. For such a young actress Mckenna Grace has wildly impressed me. She was incredibly convincing as Mary Adler and I am extremely excited for the career she has ahead of her.
I was happy to see Chris Evans in a non-superhero role. I think he has more to offer than just the steel and muscle of Captain America. Evans was able to charm his way into the hearts of the audience and played a different kind of hero in this film. The performances of the supporting actresses were solid; as is expected from actresses who have performed in Oscar nominated films.
The downfall of this movie is that it was highly predictable and it suffers from baggy trailer syndrome. Baggy trailer syndrome is when a trailer reveals too much of the plot of a movie and ruins the viewer experience for the sake of getting bums on seats. But even with its predictability I was able to immerse myself in the plot far enough not to care or think about that side of things – and that I think is incredibly impressive.
At the moment, cinema is in a bit of a dry spell and there aren’t too many exciting films to pick from. For this reason I would see Gifted when it is released. This film is definitely for fans of emotional dramas and anyone looking for some fast paced action or witty comedy should probably give this one a miss.