Gifted: Tale of Unlikely Friendships | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 06, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 06, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW

Gifted: Tale of Unlikely Friendships

Gifted is a heart-warming chronicle of ordinary relationships that face extraordinary ups and downs. The story itself is not one in a million, but the person it's about is. 

The titular character Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) is a sassy mathematical wunderkind being raised by her uncle Frank Adler (Chris Evans). Though his heart is in the right place, he struggles to find the right way to raise Mary. The choice between her learning to ride a bike and solving a mathematical equation worthy of a Fields Medal is entirely in his hands until Mary's grandmother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) comes along. Giving an exceptional child a shot at greatness comes at the price of stolen childhood, and to decide which will prevail - they both must fight. Evelyn is a textbook wealthy, ambitious mother who will leave no stone unturned to utilise Mary's gifts. 

Out of his Captain America suit, Chris Evans is picture-perfect as the conflicted father figure. Grace and Evans are a remarkably complimenting duo with radiating chemistry. Their conversations are different from what an adult and a 7-year old would generally have. The nexus is cute, interesting and opportunely funny. Jenny Slate as Frank's love interest Bonnie Stevenson who is also plays Mary's first grade teacher offers a necessary relief from the ongoing tension. Roberta (Octavia Spencer) is the well-wisher landlady who stands with unconditional love and support by Mary's side leading to an unusual friendship worth the screen time. 

Though the dichotomy between Frank and Evelyn is the driving force of the narrative, the interactions between Mary and Frank do not go unheeded. They have regular fallouts and they pick each other up. As is predictable with movies of this genre, it has a happy ending but not before the upstaging climax. The hauntingly melancholy soundtrack is backed up by the seamless acting of the adorable McKenna Grace, who rose above her lovability to a spectacle of intense emotional performance. The impeccably executed scene left a puddle on my floor. In my eyes, the moment of separation of the unique duo truly tied the movie together. From that point on it only could get better yet by untangling the mystery of Mary's mother, who has been a major component of the storyline. Her fate at first seems quintessentially tragic as is common in prodigies. But it ends in an unanticipated way, ultimately resolving the irreconcilable differences between Frank and Evelyn.

Grace in her interviews sounds wise and charming beyond her years. Indisputably she did right by her character which in foresight should pave her path for a stellar Hollywood career. Director Marc Webb skilfully revolved the narrative around the tiny actress' natural charisma.

To conclude, Gifted is a little movie with poignant, feel-good constituents which will set you right up for some quality “me” time. For me, from start to finish, it was solid entertainment with very few fillers, if at all. Did I mention that it stars a show-stealing one-eyed misunderstood cat called Fred? To rest my case, I am not even a cat person but I might just rewind the movie to catch another glimpse of it.

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