Directed by Marc Webb of 500 Days of Summer and Amazing Spiderman fame, and starring Chris Evans and young newcomer McKenna Grace, Gifted is a movie about an uncle trying to raise his math prodigy niece and give her a normal life when his strict mother comes looking for custody. This movie is basically the type of small budget mid range movie that the big Hollywood blockbusters have almost made extinct. A movie that poses the question, could the next Einstein be afforded a normal life. Safe to say this movie was pretty much everything I was expecting it to be, but also better than I thought it would be.
The direction from Webb is pretty standard, nothing riveting but he manages to tell a good,heartfelt story. Far from the mega budget, CGI heavy blockbusters he got caught up in over at Sony, perhaps Webb is more suited to this smaller scale of storytelling more akin to his debut film 500 Days of Summer. The film is emotionally manipulative at times and almost tumbles into cloying territory, but is held up by likable characters and some top notch performances.
Two of which come from Chris Evans and McKenna Grace. Evans has owned the role of Captain America and you can see shades of that in here as Evans has completely as an actor from one of the go to guys for cocky hotheads to one of the most likable good guys in movies today and perhaps the best Chris in Hollywood. He brings a warmth to his role and is totally believable as the caring but inexperienced parent. McKenna Grace is also really good in this movie, playing the role of a child genius with just the right balance of smart ass annoying and childlike vulnerability to make her a sympathetic yet also well rounded character. Grace is yet another great child performance proving that Jake Lyodd did set child actors back twenty years with Phantom Menace.
Lyndsey Duncan also does some solid work here, she is so good at playing the cold bitch type but here is able to counter that role with some added emotion to make this not a simple black and white performance. However Jenny Slate and especially Octavia Spencer are short changed for screen time and dialogue. In short this movie is predictable, overly sentimental yet surprisingly touching and enjoyable film. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel in any way but its more than worthy of a mid week movie watch, I am going to give Gifted a SEVEN out of TEN