Skip to main content

Dan's Review: Reality takes a break in "Gifted"

Apr 12, 2017 11:20AM, Published by Dan Metcalf, Categories: Arts+Entertainment Movie Reviews


Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace in Gifted - © 2017 Fox Searchlight.



Gifted (Fox Searchlight)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some suggestive material.

Starring Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer, Julie Ann Emery, Jona Xiao, John M. Jackson, Glenn Plummer, John Finn, Elizabeth Marvel, Candace B. Harris, Jon Sklaroff, Keir O'Donnell.

Written by Tom Flynn.

Directed by Marc Webb.

GRADE: B+

REVIEW:

There aren’t many issues more polarizing than child custody cases. Many films (mostly Lifetime TV fare) have tackled “who gets the child” battles, and most of them suffer from a clichéd set of circumstances unique to cinema. Real custody battles can be much more brutal or much more procedural than they seem in the movies, while it’s much more difficult to discern between protagonists and antagonists. Gifted, the story of a little girl with a genius mind caught in a custody battle between her uncle and grandmother hits theaters this week.

Chris Evans sheds his Captain America shield to play Frank, a philosophy professor-turned-boat-mechanic living in Florida with his cute 6-year-old niece Mary (Mckenna Grace). Living nearby is Frank’s landlord and friend Roberta (Octavia Spencer), who also takes care of Mary when Frank is working (or sipping beer alone at the local watering hole). When Frank decides to send Mary to public school, her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) immediately notices the girl’s mathematical genius, and reports the situation to the school principal (Elizabeth Marvel), who tries to convince Frank that the girl belongs in a school for gifted children. Frank resists, hoping to give Mary a normal life with other children. He has his reasons, since Mary was “given” to him by his sister (the girl’s mother) shortly before committing suicide. She chose Frank to raise the girl to avoid the influence of their mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), a domineering woman driven by academic achievement. When Mary has trouble socializing with the other kids, Evelyn learns of her whereabouts and sues for Mary’s custody, hoping to raise her up in a privileged Boston environment where her math skills can be honed into academic glory. A court battle ensues, and Frank is given the option of placing Mary in a nearby foster home rather than allowing Evelyn’s complete control over the girl. He soon discovers that Evelyn has a few tricks up her sleeve, and confronts her with the truth about his sister’s suicide.

Gifted is a beautiful film with an excellent cast. Mckenna Grace is adorable, while other cast mates round out a likable ensemble (even Lindsay Duncan, who gives a little humanity to an otherwise cartoonish villain). Chris Evans is also very charming – almost too charming – in a role that doesn’t quite fit reality (a hunky, single, philosophy professor on sabbatical as a boat mechanic, but also a top-notch father). He’s a fine actor, but the character is written a little too far away from reality.

Then, there’s the aforementioned reality of custody battles, which don’t always have a “Hollywood ending,” nor Deus Ex Machina plot devices that materialize and tie things up in a nice little bow. Gifted tries very hard to simplify a complex situation, and it doesn’t always come across as genuine.

While there is real emotion on display in Gifted, you must always remind yourself that it is a film intended for entertainment purposes only. It’s also okay to enjoy a sweet film, without expecting genius in the margins. 



Gifted Trailer



movies movie reviews Parenting


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/23/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • Guided Hikes for Families

    06/23/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Guided hikes for kids (and adults!) Come explore Snowbird’s lower mountain trails on these fun...


  • Yoga on the Mountain

    06/23/2017
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy a free 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class at Snowbird, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit...


  • Meet other women who ride! Join WomenMTB and Bingham Cyclery for a women’s only no drop group rid...


  • Join us for a free “Run the Bird 5K” June 23th at 8pm, with a free kids 1K at 7:45pm! The run ...


  • Enjoy a film from the Wasatch Film Festival in the fresh air on the Plaza Deck. The Birdfeeder wi...


  • Mountain Bike Mash-Up Race

    06/24/2017
    08:30AM

    MidweekMTB Mash-Up is a XC mountain bike race with divisions for men and women in Pro, Expert, Sp...


  • West Jordan Football Clothing Drive

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    WJHS FOOTBALL PLAYERS WILL BE HOSTING A CLOTHING DRIVE FOR BIG BROTHER BIG SISTER OF UTAH. WE WIL...


  • Get Out More Tour

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    Part of Adventure Week! Join BACKPACKER Magazine Ambassador Randy Propster as he shares trail-tes...


  • Adventure+Gear Fest

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The Adventure + Gear Fest at Snowbird is Utah’s largest interactive Mountain Recreation Festival ...


  • Wasatch Mountain Film Festival

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 09:00PM

    Returning to the mountains for a 3rd year, the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival has an all new line...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • Yoga at the Tram

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Enjoy a 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class on Hidden Peak, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit thei...


  • Guided Hikes for Families

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Come explore Snowbird’s lower mountain trails on these fun hikes led by one of our Snowbird guide...


  • Women’s Mountain Bike Clinics

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bingham Cyclery and WomenMTB have teamed up to offer Beginner and Intermediate skills clinics to ...


  • Yoga on the Mountain

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    Enjoy a free 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class at Snowbird, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit...


  • Cool Air Concert

    06/24/2017
    06:00PM

    Jam out on the Plaza Deck on Saturday evening, June 24, with Snowbird’s Cool Air Concert Series. ...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    06/25/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/25/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/26/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/26/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/27/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/28/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/28/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/29/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/23/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • Guided Hikes for Families

    06/23/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Guided hikes for kids (and adults!) Come explore Snowbird’s lower mountain trails on these fun...


  • Yoga on the Mountain

    06/23/2017
    05:00PM — 06:00PM

    Enjoy a free 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class at Snowbird, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit...


  • Meet other women who ride! Join WomenMTB and Bingham Cyclery for a women’s only no drop group rid...


  • Join us for a free “Run the Bird 5K” June 23th at 8pm, with a free kids 1K at 7:45pm! The run ...


  • Enjoy a film from the Wasatch Film Festival in the fresh air on the Plaza Deck. The Birdfeeder wi...


  • Mountain Bike Mash-Up Race

    06/24/2017
    08:30AM

    MidweekMTB Mash-Up is a XC mountain bike race with divisions for men and women in Pro, Expert, Sp...


  • West Jordan Football Clothing Drive

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 02:00PM

    WJHS FOOTBALL PLAYERS WILL BE HOSTING A CLOTHING DRIVE FOR BIG BROTHER BIG SISTER OF UTAH. WE WIL...


  • Get Out More Tour

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    Part of Adventure Week! Join BACKPACKER Magazine Ambassador Randy Propster as he shares trail-tes...


  • Adventure+Gear Fest

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    The Adventure + Gear Fest at Snowbird is Utah’s largest interactive Mountain Recreation Festival ...


  • Wasatch Mountain Film Festival

    06/24/2017
    10:00AM — 09:00PM

    Returning to the mountains for a 3rd year, the Wasatch Mountain Film Festival has an all new line...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • Yoga at the Tram

    06/24/2017
    11:00AM — 12:00PM

    Enjoy a 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class on Hidden Peak, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit thei...


  • Guided Hikes for Families

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Come explore Snowbird’s lower mountain trails on these fun hikes led by one of our Snowbird guide...


  • Women’s Mountain Bike Clinics

    06/24/2017
    12:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bingham Cyclery and WomenMTB have teamed up to offer Beginner and Intermediate skills clinics to ...


  • Yoga on the Mountain

    06/24/2017
    04:00PM — 05:00PM

    Enjoy a free 1 hr Mountain Vinyasa Flow class at Snowbird, hosted by And She’s Dope Too. Visit...


  • Cool Air Concert

    06/24/2017
    06:00PM

    Jam out on the Plaza Deck on Saturday evening, June 24, with Snowbird’s Cool Air Concert Series. ...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    06/25/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/25/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/26/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/26/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/27/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/28/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/28/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/29/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    06/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    06/30/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/01/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    07/02/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/02/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/03/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/03/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/04/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/05/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/05/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • 2017 WJHS Fooball Program

    07/06/2017
    11:00AM

    West Jordan High school Football is putting together our 2017 football program and we are selling...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/07/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    07/09/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/10/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/12/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    07/14/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


 

 

Online Edition
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974