Release Date: April 7, 2017
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for thematic elements, language, and some suggestive material)
The film’s title, “Gifted,” refers to the seven-year-old protagonist, Mary (McKenna Grace), who is a mathematical genius. The story centers around a custody battle between her uncle, Frank (Chris Evans) and her grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan).
Frank has been raising the daughter of his sister, also a mathematical genius, who we learn has taken her own life and who did not enjoy a common upbringing under the careful watch of her controlling mother who felt one as gifted as she was destined for greatness and a sense of immortality. We also come to know that Evelyn is hoping for the same, and sees the talents of her granddaughter as a means of gaining such notoriety.
Supporting roles by Octavia Spencer (“The Help” and “Hidden Figures”) and Jenny Slate (“Obvious Child” and “Girls”) help flesh-out the characters who care deeply about Mary, wanting to find the balance between embracing her gifts and allowing her to just do what little kids do best.
Directed by Marc Webb (“The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”) from a screenplay by Tom Flynn, the film pushes all the right emotional buttons that allows the audience to connect with the characters.
“Gifted” has an independent film-feel, which plays in its favor. The story may tug at your heart strings, but it will feel more like a gentle pull. In the end, it is a very satisfying movie with solid performances by all.