Tuesday, 7 November 2017
Gifted film review
Went to see this at the Leeds/Bradford Odeon with my friend Karen.
IMB says: Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother.
In this Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spiderman) directed film, written by Tom Flynn (Second String, Watch It), Chris Evans (Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers Assemble) stars as Frank Adler who is bringing up his dead sister's daughter, seven year old Mary (Mckenna Grace: Designated Survivor, Mr. Church), a child prodigy in coastal Florida. His plan to give her a normal school life, much to his neighbour Roberta Taylor's (The Help, Hidden Figures) disapproval, backfires when her teacher Bonnie Stevenson (Jenny Slate: Zootropolis, The Secret Life of Pets) realises her mathematical abilities. A scholarship is offered, which he turns down as he is worried it will bring them into the radar of his mother Evelyn Adler (Lindsay Duncan: About Time, Alice in Wonderland), but sadly this happens any way. He has to hire a lawyer Greg Cullen (Glenn Plummer: Speed, Saw II) as she takes him to court to get custody, will she succeed?
This is a beautiful little film where the cinematography mirrors the acting ability and centres on the bond between the Uncle (Evans) and his niece (Grace). There are no huge surprises in plot or story, the little twist was easy to guess for me, but it is utterly charming.
Evans delivers a nuanced performance and Grace is superb with her world-weary personality totally convincing that she a) does not want to be at school, and b) finds it all so boring and unchallenging. You can clearly see how being home-schooled by Evans has shaded her opinions and it makes it all the more heart-wrenching for the viewer when their relationship is threatened by a grandmother who is only interested in her for what she can achieve, and what that would mean for her.
It is a moving story and the best moments come when Evans and Grace are together as you really feel that he knows what is best for Mary. She should get to be just a little girl despite being a child prodigy and though Spencer's role is sadly too limited, it is what she predicted would happen all along when Frank lets Mary go to school.
There is one beautiful moment, backed with Cat Steven's 'The Wind' as a soundtrack, where their chemistry sets the screen alight and the film takes you through the hope and heartbreak right along with the characters.
A heartwarming film which will leave you wondering what is best for a child like Mary.
Trivia: After filming had ended, Chris Evans and Jenny Slate began a relationship and broke up almost a year later and Evans adopted his dog, Dodger, who featured in the pound scene in the movie. The Navier-Stokes problem mentioned in the movie is indeed one of the seven Millennium Prize problems in mathematics. Clay Mathematics Institute offered a US $1,000,000 prize to the first person providing a solution for a specific statement of the problem.
Tagline: How do you create an ordinary life for an extraordinary girl 9/10
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