Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…
Gifted (Dir. Marc Webb/2017)
The trailer for Gifted isn’t promising. A talented child and single parent; we’ve seen this before. But, despite many glaring clichés, the strong actors and a thought-through script means Gifted has more to offer than it first seems. Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is raising Mary (Mckenna Grace). In a lesson at her new school, it’s revealed that she is an expert in mathematics, leading her teacher (Jenny Slate) to highlight her gifted ability to Frank. But he evades her questioning, dismisses Mary’s genius ability and, after a fully-funded scholarship elsewhere is put on the table, he asks the principal to keep her in her current school. What separates Gifted from the glut of family dramas, is how Mary’s ability is framed as a curse. Frank, in fact, is Mary’s Uncle, taking Mary in after her mother died. Her Grandmother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), is keen to push Mary down this road of exceptional talent. The warmth and sincerity shines through and, though some particular questionable ethics are to be ignored (Such as a teacher happily meeting a pupil’s guardian at a bar to discuss students), the overriding message of duty, as a parent, is fully realised. If anything, Gifted actively challenges what many would assume is the best route for a gifted child and forces us to question whether that is right for the child. Directed by Marc “The Amazing Spider-Man” Webb and starring Captain America, Gifted tells us how real-life super powers need love and support, not pressure and exploitation.