Gifted is a story about Frank (Chris Evans), a single man taking care of his child prodigy niece Mary (McKenna Grace), who gets caught in a custody battle while trying to figure out what is best for Mary. Read my review…This isn’t a new premise; we’ve seen movies about child prodigies before. But Marc Webb and Tom Flynn, the director and writer respectively, add an endearing twist to this premise that got me hooked. From the very beginning, you get a sense of the special bond between Chris Evan’s Frank and McKenna Grace’s Mary, his niece. These two are adorable on screen together. This relationship, for me, is the biggest draw of this movie. It may seem simple, but when you have characters that are endearing to watch and have amazing chemistry with each other on screen, everything else just kind of fades away to an extent. Watch the trailer below to see what I mean.
Gifted is a slice-of-life kind of a movie; if you know me at all then you’ll know I enjoy these types of movies immensely when done well. This is once such movie. It takes its time and allows you to gradually fall for the characters, which is largely down to the aforementioned chemistry between Frank and Mary. As such, the performances are wonderful to watch. If and when Chris Evans decides to hand up the shield, we won’t be forgetting him. He proved that in Snowpiercer and his directorial debut Before We Go, both of which I enjoyed immensely. Gifted is just another example of his acting abilities. McKenna Grace is a start in the making. The role requires her to act way beyond her age, both intellectually and emotionally, which she does with aplomb.
Every movie of this kind gets bogged down by boring court proceedings that end up revealing some family secrets and this movie is no different in that regard. If I had to outline a negative, this would be it. It did indeed get a little boring watching the scenes in court. But Marc Webb manages to draw you back in again and again. There are a couple of scenes in particular that tugs at your heart strings and definitely had my eyes welling up. There is a scene at the maternity ward in the hospital where Frank takes Mary to show her why it doesn’t matter who the biological father is. This was a brilliant way to get this message across that I hadn’t seen before. There is also a scene where Frank and Mary discuss whether there is a God as silhouettes with the sun setting behind them. A simple yet ingenious moment for the movie, well done Marc Webb.
Overall, Gifted is a familiar story with a little twist told in an endearing and heartfelt manner. The performances are brilliant and the chemistry between Chris Evans and McKenna Grace is the glue that holds this movie together, wells up your eyes and puts a smile on your face. I can’t emphasise enough how much it all stems from the relationship between those two.
My Score: 4/5 – This is a huge recommendation from me. Watch it and you’ll be glad that you did.
Gifted is out now across north America and opens on 16th June in the UK.