[Movie Review] Gifted (2017) – Is Life a Pursuit of Happiness or Excellence?
Unlike what most believe the life of a child prodigy to be, it isn’t exactly a bed of roses. Gifted will tell you just that.
The movie follows the life of Frank Adler (Chris Evan), a single man who’s raising the daughter of his deceased sister. Residing in the coastal town of Florida, he has a seven-year-old young niece, Mary (Mckenna Grace) in tow while eking out a living by repairing boats.
Drama ensues when Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), Frank’s mother comes to town to visit Mary, her granddaughter – with her own plans for the wonder child. Frank doesn’t take well to the surprise visit, especially when both of them don’t see eye to eye on Mary’s future. Their conflict continues into the courtroom, at where the dark past of Diana – Mary’s mother – unravels before us.
Revolving around the central theme of kinship, Gifted managed to stir up some of the deepest emotions in us. We can’t help but to tear up at several poignant (and tearjerking) moments captured between the protagonists Frank and Mary.
Along the way, the platonic friendship between Bonnie (Jenny Slate) – Mary’s teacher – and Frank blossomed into a romantic one, albeit in an unexpected manner. The camaraderie between Roberta (Octavia Spencer) – Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend, Mary and Frank has also provided some laughter and a well-placed respite from all the family drama.
Shedding his superhero image, Chris Evan has just proven to us he’s more than an action star and his versatility in Gifted. If Mckenna Grace’s performance in this movie is anything to go by, it doesn’t come as a surprise that acting is her calling.
While the movie may have started on a slightly trite note, there’s nothing contrived about it. As it reveals to us some of the real struggles a family faces today, Gifted reminds us of a perennial dilemma between the pursuit of ambition or happiness. Who knows what’s best for a child and is the ultimate end goal in life happiness or the pursuit of excellence?
Gifted is one way you can arrive at the answer. The movie opens on 20 April.