Gifted (2017) Poster

(2017)

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10/10
Should Be Better Known
johnwiltshireauthor10 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Another reviewer here asks a very pertinent question as to why this film is not better known. If you watched this and didn't enjoy it then I reckon you must be dead. First off, the acting is superb. I'm not one for American child actors. They are often bizarrely moppet-like and unappealing, but this child is absolutely marvelous. She steals every scene she's in, and, like her uncle, Frank, I just sat back and wondered at her charm. Chris Evans does a fantastic job with this role. He plays it understated, which works incredibly well. There are some genuinely funny moments--I particularly liked the one-eyed cat, Fred, and his rescue from the (euthanasia) shelter. He's just sitting there with two other cats waiting to be put down. No one dies on Frank's watch. Great acting, interesting plot, genuine emotion, questions about the meaning of life and the debt we owe to our talents, all wrapped up in a great-looking movie. Just watch. You'll love it.
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10/10
'He's a good person. He wanted me before I was smart.'
gradyharp30 July 2017
Screenwriter Tom Flynn offers a well-considered and genuinely moving story about how we deal with gifted children – and adults. GIFTED is also about family connections and the impact on children whose parents are lost to them by separation whether in death by natural causes, by suicide, or by desertion. Marc Webb who has gathered an impeccable cast to enact this touching drama directs his sensitive story with aplomb.

Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old's mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank's formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary's landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary's teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well. The story explores the relationship between a caring uncle who salvaged his niece when the mother of the girl (a brilliant mathematician) commits suicide – yearning to offer the brilliant gifted niece a 'normal life' despite custody battles and grandmother opinions.

Chris Evans continues to prove that he is one of our more important serious actors of the day and eleven year old Mckenna Grace demonstrates why she is on of the most frequently seen young actresses in the young role parts. Octavia Spencer and Lindsay Duncan offer definitive performances in tough roles. This is a film with many levels of message and one that should be seen by a very wide audience.
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10/10
I rarely watch this type of movie - but this was worth watching more then once
brien195111 February 2018
I'm going to make this a simple review - acting was outstanding for almost everyone. What I'd really like to know is how did Hollywood figure out how to take an very talented adult actress and make her look like a seven year old? Mckenna Graces performance is well beyond her years. I expect we'll see many great performances from her in the years to come. Chris Evans has come a long way from Johnny Storm and I look forward to seeing him in more dramatic roles. Octavia Spencer was great in Hidden Figures but in this different type of role, I think she did just as good of job with the amount of screen time she had. And on a final note, let's give Fred a big round of applause in a "supporting role:
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10/10
McKenna Grace should be mentioned for the Oscars
philmnut27 November 2017
Just a terrific movie with one of the best performances by a child actor in years. Chris Evans was terrific. Octavia Spencer is the gold standard. Lindsay Duncan was so good.

The thing I don't get is why McKenna Grace is not being mentioned for any awards. She is just ridiculously good. So many child actors these days are too precious or too snotty. I believed her as that character. She gets better as the movie gets going. This girl deserves to, at the very least, be in the conversation for awards. It's a head-scratcher.

See this movie. It's the kind they don't make anymore. Laugh and cry, and nobody kills anyone or takes heroin or robs anyone. Sweet movie.

10 out of 10.
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9/10
Who says there aren't any good movies being made anymore?
jacobs-greenwood25 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I want to be worthy of writing this summary but, even if I blow it, you should see Gifted (2017). Firstly, what's not to like about Chris Evans. Yes, he's best known for playing Captain America in all those Marvel blockbusters but, if you haven't seen his self- directed Before We Go (2014), do yourself a favor and watch it on Netflix soon. In Gifted, he plays the kind of father every little girl deserves, and wishes she had.

Gifted is a beautifully filmed (and edited), heartfelt story about parenting and familial conflict that's as real and insightful as it is funny: its fully developed characters are perfectly cast with actors that deliver spot on performances. The narrative backdrop involves how to best raise a genius child.

Evans plays Frank Adler, whose brilliant mathematician sister Diane took her own life and left him with an infant to raise 6 1/2 years ago. McKenna Grace plays Mary, Frank's 7-year-old niece to whom the movie's title refers. Olivia Spencer (who seems to appear in everything lately) plays Roberta, their neighbor, friend and weekend babysitter.

As the film opens, Roberta is scolding Frank for putting Mary on a school bus that morning. He believes that Mary is socially awkward and needs to spend time with friends her own age instead of contemplating the future of the Euro. Roberta is afraid that Mary will be taken away from Frank, a fear that is warranted as the story plays out.

Jenny Slate plays Mary's first grade teacher Mrs. Stevenson (aka Bonnie), who notices the child's extraordinary gifting which, although she didn't wish it, ends up bringing Mary to the attention of Frank's estranged mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan). Obsessed with her own daughter's mathematical gifts, Evelyn had driven away Diane's friends, leaving her socially immature, which may have contributed to the suicide.

These details come to light during a custody battle for Mary between Frank and Evelyn in the courtroom of Judge Nichols (John M. Jackson); Glenn Plummer is excellent as Frank's attorney. She argues that Frank, who was an Assistant Philosophy Professor at a northeastern university when Diane was alive but now fixes boats in the Florida town where he moved Mary, is not adequately providing for her granddaughter. However, it becomes clear that what she really wants is to use Mary as she did Diane to fulfill her own ambitions - Evelyn still regrets having given up a promising career when she'd married - to complete an historically significant and as yet unresolved math problem.

In the meantime, what we see is that Frank is truly committed to Mary's well-roundedness. He doesn't give answers to most of her questions so that she is free to come to her own conclusions. There's an ironic scene in which the two are playing on the beach silhouetted against a brilliant orange sky while the sun sets and yet Frank doesn't confirm the existence of its creator when Mary asks if there is a God.

In my favorite scene, Frank demonstrates unparalleled parenting ability when he takes Mary, in tears because her biological father didn't even try to see her while in town as Evelyn's pawn, to the maternity ward of a hospital so that she can witness the loving celebration of family that occurred when she was born vicariously.

Olivia Spencer is marvelous, her character a stabilizing force of fun for Mary, and so is Jenny Slate as Bonnie, with whom Frank journeys into an unwise relationship; fortunately Frank's indiscretion with Mary's teacher doesn't become a factor in court. Instead, their interactions are used to further reveal Frank's personality and parental philosophy; these more lighthearted and humorous scenes serve to balance the serious nature of the custody trial.

Lastly, Miss Grace is excellent as Mary, making her character's genius believable (though it's dismaying that her smarts are too often translated as sarcasm). There are some really sweet scenes between Frank and Mary, but also several involving her teacher, first grade classmates, and one-eyed cat Fred.

Highly recommended!
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9/10
Phew what a movie!
koboi919 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiler inside.

I don't expect at all to have a very enjoyable experience and happiness when watching this movie. After watching it, I kinda feel human and recharge again and made you realized the meaning of kindness. Thank you for creating a very good movie that so enjoyable.

First the acting. Mary is just unbelievable here. Never once i felt i am watching a kid act in-front of a camera. Well ..., i am saying she has done a very very good job compared to other child actor. We can really feel her when she sad, cry, happy or when she tried to hide her 'grown up and geniuses from coming out because her dad told her so. And, because she is cute too, it's amplify sadness when she gets hurt. I almost cry when frank left her at her foster parent. Now, because I love action movie, I really hope that there is a director out there that will offer her a character in an action movie just like kick-ass. It will fits her perfectly and will surpassed chloe moretz easily.

All of the adults also doing very good but that should be expected from them. What i want to say is something about their chemistry. Thank goodness, it is there!! That captain America did a very good job as a guardian and comparable to the wolverine in real-steel movie as a trouble father. He did a very good job here.

Frank and mary's teacher, mary and roberta in some scene have a fantastic and inspirational dialog that can 'wake' you and make you realized there are other perspective to understand about life.

Scenery shown during Frank and mary out together is so amazing and beautiful. And that scene when mary said 'you lied to me' is so intense that i am sure many of you will be touched. There are also scene that makes you heart pumped faster when that that old lady evelyn terrifies everyone in court with her intelligent and non-stop reasoning. Overall they managed to shows almost real-life relation and maintain it throughout the movie.

If you like to watch drama about family, and you like to think, it's one of the must-watch movie this year.
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10/10
Great movie
85122210 August 2017
Greetings from Lithuania.

So after seeing high score at IMDb for "Gifted" (2017) and some of my favorite critics gave it a maximum score, i was kinda dying to see it for my self. After seeing it i can only say - "Gifted" is an amazingly involving and great movie.

Story here is not a very original but its great. Script was superb - it is moving, involving, funny, realistic and hopeful story. Acting was superb by all involved and reminded me that Chris Evans is a very compelling actor - actually this was his best performance since "Puncture" back in 2011 (because i don't think that working in Marvel movies requires real acting, no offence). Directing by Marc Webb was superb - no dragging moment for entire 1 h 41 min - this is hands down his best movie since his the amazing "500 Days of Summer".

All in all, i can't recommend "Gifted" any higher. It will make you smile, sad and hopeful. Great movie.
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9/10
Charming And Gripping
rioplaydrum19 April 2017
I knew nothing about this film. Had seen no adds, heard no word of mouth, pretty much nothing.

I only found it only after tapping out the local AMC 24 and driving a few extra miles to see something new.

The premise was intriguing: What to do with a seven year old mathematical prodigy caught between a cozy, loving household occupied by her doting Uncle Frank and a one-eyed cat named Fred, and a challenging but cold academic world ready to pace her on mental treadmills for the rest of her life.

McKenna Grace plays little Mary who's character is at the center of attention whether she likes it or not. Mostly not.

Grace's performance does raise a few eye brows as she very convincingly plays a precocious and genius little girl plagued with boredom being surrounded by the dead-weight of average students she has nothing in common with.

In fact, Mary's personality is also far developed beyond her peers, exhibiting a sarcastic and jaded sense of humor more on par with a bunch of 40-year olds downing a shot or two after a particularly bad day at work.

After Mary's abilities are discovered by her first grade teacher, the inevitable battle for command of her future quickly unfolds.

One very powerful supporting role is supplied by Lindsay Duncan who portrays Evelyn the Grandmother. Evelyn is a poised and proper Englishwoman armed with a titanium intellect few would want to challenge. As the legal proceedings unfold, Evelyn verbally fire-bombs the entire court room from the stand without batting an eye in her fight for custody of Mary.

Her arguments and assessments are hopelessly air-tight and seamless, leaving Uncle Frank and his lawyer scrambling.

Frank just wants Mary to be a little girl. Grandma wants to plug her into The Matrix. Who will win?

'Gifted' is not without it's displays of some original laughs. My favorite was a scene in which little Mary discovers her Uncle Frank is sleeping with her 1st grade teacher, who one morning comes stumbling into the kitchen wearing only a towel.

Their reaction to each other is priceless.

As to why this production is flying under the radar with virtually no advertising or promotion is baffling.

The hour-and-a-half flew by for me and left me with an odd feeling it ended too soon. Aside from that, there was almost nothing wrong with this film, at least not that I could find.

Warm, unique and entertaining, 'Gifted' should stay with you for days afterwards.

A great family night movie.
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9/10
Great movie with beautiful cinematography
SilkeJ5 May 2017
Yes, I give this a 9 out of 10. Not because it's a blockbuster (actually I don't know if it is, or not, and I don't care.) or because of any hype. (I've watched it by pure chance.)

I enjoyed the story, which was well thought through.

I enjoyed the acting -- by everyone. Really. That doesn't happen to me often.

And it is beautifully shot.

The movie has drama, humor, sadness, and happiness. Even a little romance.

The story revolves around a little girl, Mary, who, at 7 years old, is found to be a mathematical genius. Her uncle, Frank, is bringing her up, after his sister committed suicide. When it comes to light that little Mary is truly exceptional, Frank's mother enters the equation (pardon the math pun). She wants Mary to go to a school where her gifts are challenged, where she can advance her level of mathematics. Frank, however, wants Mary to be a kid. To grow up playing, having friends, and tromping around with her one eyed cat Fred, and go to a regular school, with regular kids, so she's not alienated from kids her own age. Basically, he wants her to have a normal life, where she can be normal. A custody battle ensues between Grandmother and Uncle, and Mary is caught in the middle.

I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm keeping it vague. :) Sorry.

The movie has many "Moments". Things that you'll recognize from your own life, the troubles and the joys. I loved it for that. I would say it's suitable for kids to watch, although there are some adult themes. Nothing graphic though.

It's a quiet movie, not something flashy, not hugely dramatic. But there is a good story that's well filmed and acted -- and honestly, there don't seem to be many of those anymore.

All I can say is, watch it and make up your own mind.

And yes, I would definitely watch it again.
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9/10
A Fathers Must See!
Robert9675725 August 2017
As a parent you'll find it hard to look at your child without admiring that silly behavior or constant charm. Our children are - after all - a driving purpose & Marc Webbs "Gifted" has no limit to those little reminders of why. Starring Christopher Evans as "Frank Adler", this family oriented drama will have you smiling for hours at the wacky comments and sheer intellect "Mary Adler" (McKenna Grace) portrays in her character is a child prodigy - something I'm sure we all see in our sons & daughters, regardless of where they stand. The plot-line here was surprisingly soft and presented host of lessons that highlighted the importance of a trusting relationship with your child; not to mention dealing with those who might try and stand between it. It's a title every father must see and every mother should feel encouraged by. Where there's love, there's life!
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9/10
A very good watch, especially for the acting and the direction. Loved the chemistry between Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace.
jay-techie200724 April 2017
Great movie to watch. I loved the chemistry between Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace. Something to watch out. The direction is great and the story very much moving.

Story (8/10): Mary is a gifted child who is way above her biological age. She solves complex math problems and provides expert views on politics. However, her late mother's brother, Frank, is determined to give her a normal life like every other kid. However there is as much he can hide from the world, especially her school. Eventually, it turns into a courtroom battle of Mary's custody between Frank and his mother, Mary's grandmother, Evelyn, who wants to have her in top schools for gifted in the country and solve some of the all time great problems in mathematics. In the midst of all this, there is a secret kept safe around Mary's mother's death. While the plot isn't so powerful, the script was very well written which is why the movie was gripping and managed to keep audience's attention. I loved the character sketch of Mary and Evelyn in particular - very assertive, except that Mary had more subtlety instead of visible aggression.

Acting (9/10): Chris Evans is great in the role of Frank. His brilliant chemistry with Mckenna Grace is perhaps the reason the movie was so enjoyable. Mckenna Grace had definitely tough role playing a gifted child with all the jargons. However, the raw naughtiness she was able to project just normal to any child of her age brought a lot of life to her role. Lindsay Duncan was good too - reminded me of Leonard's mother from BBT. This was only the second movie of Octavia Spencer I've watched and she was good again even in a limited role. She made her presence felt strongly in the movie even with two other leading ladies more closely related to the protagonists. Overall, the movie had some very good performances to watch out for.

Direction (9/10): Marc Webb elevated an average story into an excellent cinema. His projection of the artistic side (right brain) of an otherwise math genius (left brain) was great and something to take away from the movie. The humor kept the movie light and fun to watch. I loved the way the relationship of Frank and Mary was projected. Some of the scenes, like the hospital one, were beautifully conceptualized and executed.

Overall (9/10): Overall, it's a very good watch, especially for the acting and the direction. Even though it's a drama but still not heavy.
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10/10
Fantastic movie. Great story and great cast.
babygurlj29 October 2017
I created an IMDb account just to review this movie. I love Chris Evans and he's amazing in this role. The story is phenomenal. You will need tissue but please don't let that deter you. The casting director did an amazing job. I don't usually watch movies more than once unless they're amazing and I would definitely watch this one again.
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10/10
Emotional roller-coaster but in a really good way!
jiggywit_tam10 May 2017
I loved this movie, and I will watch it again. This is my first review ever, and I've been on IMDb for years reading people's reviews to determine if I want to watch a movie or not. Does the movie have some flaws, YES! But a movie that can make me laugh, cry, feel anxious, and a whole lot of emotions I cannot explain is a win win for me. All the characters are awesome, every single one of them. Wished the movie had been 3 hours. Don't try to analyze this movie,go watch and just FEEL!
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8/10
Touching well done film
davispittman12 August 2017
Gifted is a movie about relationships, family, and doing what's right for children. The film centers around Mary (McKenna Grace), a 7 year old who is academically gifted, she can do mathematics at a college/adult level. She lives with her uncle (Chris Evans), because her mother died and her father has never been in the picture. She starts the first grade and of course finds it tedious because she's far beyond that level. Her grandmother comes to take her to live with her in Boston where she can be put in a prestigious school and be surrounded by tutors. Mary's uncle doesn't want that because her mother said she wanted Mary to be a normal kid and enjoy life and not be constantly taught at all her life. But Mary's grandmother isn't about to give up.... they end up going to court over the matter and fighting for custody. The film features excellent performances by every member of the cast. It also has great writing. The writing brings out the films heart, it shows the love and sense of family that Mary and her uncle have. I 100% suggest Gifted! 8/10.
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7/10
how do we choose who chooses?
ferguson-66 April 2017
Greetings again from the darkness. The "right" choice isn't always obvious. Things get more complicated when even the "best" choice isn't clear. Place a young child at the heart of that decision tree, and the result may yield emotional turmoil and an abundance of moral high ground and judgment. Such best intentions are at the core of this latest from director Marc Webb (his first feature since 500 Days of Summer) and writer Tom Flynn.

Frank (Chris Evans) is raising his 10 year old child prodigy niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in low-key small town Florida. The circumstances that brought the two of them together aren't initially known, but are explained in a poignant moment later in the film. Frank has been home-schooling Mary and now believes it's time she transitions to public school for the socialization aspect … "try being a kid for once" he urges. Of course, Mary's teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate, Obvious Child) immediately realizes Mary is special, and just like that, the wheels of the educational system are in motion to explain to Frank why they know what's best for Mary … a high-fallutin private school where she can be all she can be.

There is a really nice and enjoyable story here of Uncle Frank dedicated to doing what he thinks is best for bright and charming and spirited young Mary, but it all comes crashing down when the bureaucrats, and ultimately Frank's mother (Lindsay Duncan), get involved. When the adults can't agree on the best route for Mary, a courtroom battle ensues. Ms. Duncan gets a witness scene reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and her overall performance stands in effective stark contrast to the warm fuzzies of Mr. Evans.

The supporting cast contributes nicely, though Octavia Spencer's role as kindly neighbor Roberta is more limited than it should be, and the love connection between Evans and Ms. Slate could have easily been omitted - but she is so pleasant on screen, that we don't mind at all. Glenn Plummer and John Finn are the attorneys who go to war, and Fred the one-eyed cat also gets plenty of screen time. But there is little doubt that the movie really belongs to the effervescent Miss Grace. She nails the back and forth between kid and genius, and we never doubt her sincerity.

Child prodigies have been explored through other fine movies such as Little Man Tate, Searching for Bobby Fisher, and Shine, and while this one may run a bit heavier on melodrama, but it's worthy of that group. The best discussions after this movie would revolve around what's best for the child. Should she be deprived of "higher" education in order to live within a more "normal" social environment? Are any of the adults more interested in their own ego than in what's in the child's best interest? Home school vs public school vs private school is always good for some fireworks, and everyone has their own thoughts. So how do we decide who gets to decide? Does a parent get the final say on their child – even if their motivations may be in doubt? Should every kid be pushed to their academic – or artistic – or athletic – limits? The questions are many and the answers are complicated. There is a great line in the film that itself is worthy of conversation: "You got on the bad side of a small-minded person with authority". Yikes. Even Cat Stevens' great song "The Wind" can't soften that.
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10/10
One of the best and touching movies ever!
alexgwchan3 May 2017
the movie is fantastic. i absolutely love it and the acotrs and actresses are amazing, Mckenna Grace who plays Mary and Chris Evans who plays Frank is absolutely suited for the role. The young actress, Mckenna Grace is a very talented girl and actress, and Chris Evans is amazing as the Uncle role. They are so great with each other, that is was so touching when they were together. i believe that this movie will be one of the greatest in the world. I LOVE IT!
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8/10
Powerful Statement, Outstanding Acting, Stunning Cinematography
rannynm9 April 2017
Gifted is a story with not a lot of surprise elements, but it wins the audience over with its powerful statement, outstanding acting and stunning cinematography. Mainly, Gifted has a very dramatic story line. However, Gifted offers much more then that. Viewers also get a subplot of romance, friendship and strong family values as well as some comedy here and there to keep a dramatic movie light.

The plot begins when Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace) starts first grade. She isn't like the other kids in her class. Her teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate) soon learns that Mary turns out to be a genius in mathematics. She can easily do equations higher than high school level. Despite her clear giftedness, Mary's uncle, Frank (Chris Evans) refuses to put Maryin a school for gifted children, trying to keep the girl's life normal. Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), Mary's grandmother insists on making her do mathematics around the clock and training her to be a math prodigy. What follows is a custody battle between the two for Mary.

My favorite scene really stands out due to remarkable lighting and camera work. The scene really doesn't contribute to the plot, but the cinematography makes it one of the most excellent in the film. The scene shows Mary riding on Frank's shoulders. Behind them, a giant sunset completely fills the sky. The lighting from the setting sun comes out stunningly dazzling. Even though it doesn't add to the complexity of the story, the scene is very impressive and demonstrates the closeness of the uncle and his niece.

One of Gifted's weak points waters down to the story. Even though the film is unique from other stories about genius kids, by focusing on the family values and relationships instead of Mary's exceptional mathematical skills, it still comes out very predictable and rather simple. The main conflict never really feels like a major issue but rather, just a side story. Despite those issues, Gifted still entertains through the acting. All the actors deliver outstanding performances. Mckenna Grace, despite being only 10-years-old, completely steals the show. Never does the acting feel forced and the actors seem to authentically connect with their characters and have a true bond on-screen.

There are a few adult references in the film, but nothing too worry about. I recommend this for ages 8 to 18 and give it 4 out of 5 stars because, although the story needs work, the acting and cinematography make Gifted a very entertaining and memorable film.

By Gerry O., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic. For more reviews by youth, visit kidsfirst dot org.
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I will recommend it to everyone
Gordon-1122 May 2017
This film tells the story of a seven year old girl who is spectacularly gifted at mathematics. She becomes the centre of a custody lawsuit, when her grandmother shows up out of the blue and demands custody from her uncle.

"Gifted" is brilliant in so many ways. The story itself is very touching and engaging. Mary is super clever, but she still has a childish side to her. She is very adorable, and I simply wish all the best for her. Her uncle is charming, and does everything he can to take care of Mary. The legal battle with the grandmother is captivating, and it is enhanced by the fact that the two parties are in fact blood relatives with a heartbreaking history. As the heartbreak slowly unfolds, my heart breaks a little more, and I feel closer to the story even more.

I really liked "Gifted". I will recommend it to all my friends.
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8/10
Loved It!
Themonsterder5 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
We are often told by others what should and shouldn't be important to us, especially when we are young. As a juvenile, Frank's sister, Diane was strictly prohibited from making her own choices based on her own values. This strict and controlling upbringing lead her to a life of anger and misery. Prior to taking her own life, Diane charged her brother with the task of raising Mary differently than that. She wanted Mary to get to be a kid and learn what life is really about. 'Gifted' is a story is about Frank's fight for what he values, what his sister valued, and most importantly, what a little girl named Mary values more than anything in the world.
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10/10
Really nice family film
sivleyd4 May 2017
Great show, held my attention and warmed my heart! This is not an action, shoot em up show. Just a little cursing. No nudity. Just the presentation of a dilemma of life and the love for a growing, young girl. Excellent acting and filming. The best movie I've seen in a long time.
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10/10
No Explosions, No Car Chases, No Murders - Didn't Know They Still Made These! And Fred The Cat!
DennisHinSF17 March 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Just saw Gifted - It was a WONDERFUL film, the kind of film it seems Hollywood almost never makes anymore - A family that loves but has major issues from past hurts and disappointments, and among other questions how best to raise a child with superior intelligence. The acting, writing, photography and story all were a complete knock out of the park. Now - You may be wondering why I mentioned in the title a certain cat named Fred who is the beloved sidekick of the little girl. Fully realizing this is a movie, NOTHING makes my blood boil like taking away a pet from a child, simply because it doesn't align with everyone's agenda, especially after she was promised by her "new" family that she could keep it. It broke her heart. And mine too, when I found it ended up at a kill shelter. Fortunately this is happily resolved at the absolute last minute. The entire film rings true; You feel as though You are in the same room with these characters and wish You could help them somehow. Again, this is fine, fine film - don't miss it.
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9/10
Why isn't this more talked about?
jamawag4 February 2018
Just never heard a lot about this, but I recently discovered Chris Evans - in a small film he directed. Really liked it and really liked this. Formulaic? Most films now require a leap of faith, but there are so few good films that are character driven. Loved the performances.
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9/10
"Gifted" is a wonderful family story, wonderfully executed.
dave-mcclain16 April 2017
Octavia Spencer has carved out quite a niche for herself in feel-good, family-friendly dramas. At first, she often played caregivers (mostly nurses) during her feature film career, which began in 1996 when she played a nurse in "A Time to Kill". But then she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for 2011's "The Help" (in which she played a maid). Since her Oscar win, the variety in her movie roles has expanded, but she seems to have gravitated towards a certain kind of cinematic story. She took on roles like the peace-loving Johanna in the "Divergent" films, a loving grandmother involved in a child custody battle in "Black or White" (2015) and a brilliant and protective NASA supervisor in "Hidden Figures" (2016). Then, in 2017, she played God himself (well, HERself) in "The Shack" – and a loving grandmotherly figure on the fringes of a child custody battle in the terrific family-friendly drama "Gifted" (PG-13, 1:41).

The character to whom the title "Gifted" refers is a precocious 7-year-old girl named Mary, played by Mckenna Grace (previously mainly known for her TV roles in "The Young and the Restless", "Once Upon a Time" and "Designated Survivor"). Mary never knew her father (who disappeared from the picture when Mary's mother learned that she was pregnant) and her mother died when Mary was six months old. Mary is being raised by her uncle Frank (Chris Evans) in his modest Florida home, which he pays for by freelancing as a boat repairman. Frank's landlady is an older woman named Roberta (Spencer) who loves Mary like she's her own granddaughter. Good thing. Mary's real grandmother (Frank's mom) is an arrogant and controlling woman who lives in Massachusetts. Which is why Frank lives in Florida.

After home-schooling Mary for a while, Frank decides that it's time for Mary to go to school, so he enrolls her in first grade. Frank thinks it's critically important that Mary socialize and make friends with kids her own age. Mary doesn't think she should go to school. Roberta agrees and isn't shy about expressing her concerns to Frank. Roberta knows that Mary is special and is concerned about protecting her from a world which can't understand her. Mary doesn't want to go to school because she knows that she can't relate to kids who aren't on her intellectual level. Also because elementary school is so… well, elementary. Mary's concerns about school play out very quickly when she hits a boy in the face with a book for bullying a younger child – and when she gets disgusted with her strict, but caring teacher, Bonnie Stevenson (Jenny Slate) for asking the kids what 3+3 equals, when Mary can do calculus! Ms. Stevenson clearly recognizes Mary's genius in mathematics and the school's principal (Elizabeth Marvel) tells Frank that the school is unable to academically challenge a child like Mary and offers to help get Mary into a very prestigious private school nearby. Frank refuses, insisting that what Mary needs more at this point is to learn to socialize with her peers (chronological peers, if not intellectual ones) and to just "be a kid". It's at this point that grandma Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) shows up on Frank's doorstep. A mathematical genius herself (but surpassed by her late daughter), she tries to convince Frank that his method of raising Mary will rob her of her potential and deprive the world of major contributions that she seems destined to make. When Frank refuses to budge, Evelyn drags him into court for a bitter and very personal custody battle. Roberta and Evelyn become more involved in the lives of Mary and Frank, but it's unlikely they can do much to help Frank sort through his limited options.

"Gifted" is a wonderful movie, wonderfully executed. Screenwriter Tom Flynn and director Marc Webb give us a sweet and meaningful story of love, family and finding balance in life. It also makes for outstanding drama, with well-constructed twists and multi-layered plot lines. Grace is adorable – and exceptionally talented, as shown not just by this role, but by the impressive list of screen credits she accumulated by the age of 10! Evans may not be carrying Captain America's shield in this movie, but he's still pretty heroic as the loving but conflicted father figure who desperately wants to do right by his niece. Slate reminds us that she's an excellent actress with more range than most of her fellow SNL alumni. She also has great chemistry with Evans, with whom she had a year-long relationship after making this movie. Duncan plays her pseudo-villain role with depth and Spencer is both fun and heart-warming to watch. The occasional adult language and allusions to sex take a little away from this film's family-friendliness, but "Gifted" really is a great gift to Movie Fans. "A"
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9/10
Beautiful
dscott-338086 August 2017
Subject line says it all. I am no critic and do not presume to be a Leonard Maltin, but I am a movie lover. As far as movies go in this genre, this one is beautiful. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, and yes, it may even make you take a look at your own life and the decisions you have made. Worth a watch, you will not be disappointed. Seems Chris Evans doesn't have to wear tights to save the world.
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10/10
Doing what's best for children...
kurt-200026 October 2017
Perhaps the best film I've ever seen with Chris Evans. This film was warm and moving with characters that I could relate to under the unique circumstances of the story line. A decent drama well worth watching. How nice to see a film without gun play violence for a change. Could Hollywood make more of these films, please? This film has an obvious message on how to raise children, and why it's wrong to drive them to madness. 'Why does a child's happiness matter' is all you need to know about this film before watching it. Truly a breath of fresh air in the blood-fest we call entertainment these days.
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