Print review of Gifted (20th Century Fox) for the 15th June edition of The Oxford Paper from Taylor Newspapers.
“What Gifted can’t smother with its sentimental presentation is an interesting and genuinely moving story. Mary isn’t just an endearingly charming child genius – she is also the daughter and granddaughter of troubled women.
The real drama announces itself in the form of a custody dispute, throwing up questions to do with parenting, purpose, identity and compromise, all of which are surprisingly well handled. It is hard not to care for Mary’s fate, and wonder what is truly right or best in her situation – if indeed any of the options are either of those things.
Credit for this remarkable turnaround must go to the cast, who fully commit to their characters and give them a depth the script does not deserve. Lindsay Duncan prevents domineering grandmother Evelyn from becoming a shallow stereotype, while Chris Evans manages to suggest turmoil behind a stoic exterior – but the real star is Mckenna Grace, whose balance of innocence and understanding feels genuine, successfully generating real emotion in a number of scenes.
Sadly, the film’s amateurish elements outweigh these positives. Conversations transparently move the plot along and signal the drama where required, feeling more robotic than personal. While we are treated to several ham-fisted philosophical and existential discussions, we rarely hear the more simple – and realistic – expressions of feeling to be expected from the film’s events and emotional context.”
Cast & Crew
Director(s): Marc Webb
Writer(s): Tom Flynn
Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer