Back with another movie review here! This time with Gifted. Obvious spoilers ahead as usual. I’ll try to make it as concise as possible and not as long as Logan given the big wall of text to read.
To give off a little bit of detail of what the movie is about, Gifted tells a story about a man, Frank played by Chris Evans, who has taken the ‘father’ role of a young female prodigy named Mary. Frank is supposedly the uncle of Mary whose mother passed away when Mary was young. And the movie goes through the struggles of a parent whether to let Mary do what she loves or let her have a normal childhood.
The scene begins with Frank sending Mary off to a school after being home-schooled for the past few years. Their next door neighbour and bus driver, Roberta, tells Frank that this is a bad idea but Frank goes with the plan anyway. Mary reluctantly goes off to school and shows disinterest in class. She particularly gets displeased when the teacher, Bonnie Stevenson, asks a very simple math question to the class. As a result, Mary is asked by Bonnie to answer a few ‘complicated’ math questions for a 1st grade such as double digits multiplication. Bonnie thought she had proven a point to Mary but finds out that she actually is gifted. When Bonnie tries to confront with Frank, Frank denies any attempt of discussion about Mary being gifted.
In the downtime, Bonnie tries to search up any information about the Adler family. She manages to find that Frank was a lecturer on Philosophy and Diane, his sister and Mary’s mom, was a math prodigy who came close to solving one of the Millenium Prize Problems. Later that night, Bonnie confronts Frank at a bar, a place he usually goes every week. She then confirms the fact that Mary is a child genius with Frank while he expresses his fear that Mary would turn out like Diane and ruin her life.
The next day, Mary got into a fight with a boy from her class and Frank is called in to the principal’s office. On the verge of being suspended, the principal offers a scholarship to Mary to enter a school for the gifted with the help of Bonnie. Frank declines, stating that she deserves to have a normal childhood. With that, the principal decides to contact the grandmother, Evelyn. She comes to Frank’s house and prepared gifts for Mary such as a Macbook and some books regarding Math theories and problems. Mary instantly gets interested into them and start reading.
Frank offers to talk to Evelyn at a private place and proceed to argue about the future of Mary. Frank wants her to have a happy and normal childhood while Evelyn hopes she could surpass Diane and maximise her potential. They both stand firm with their decisions which results in Evelyn seeking to gain custody.
Now, here comes one of my favourite scenes in the movie, where Frank brings Mary to the beach and talk about life in general. One quote from Frank sticked with me most: ‘Faith is good to have but it is about what you feel and think, not what you know.’ It was a great line that stroked deeply within my heart.
Along the custody battle, we find out the identity of Mary’s father who said that he always wanted to see Mary but lied about it. Mary gets emotionally upset about it and Frank decides to show her the moment she was born in a hospital. Mary also mentions that she wants to stay with Frank because he wanted her before she was smart. And that’s another one liner which also stroke deeply within my heart. The custody battle gets really furious and intense which made both parties to think that they will lose. Frank’s lawyer proposes a compromises where she will live in a foster home which is 15 minutes away from Frank and get to study in a college. Mary will be able to decide where she lives when she reaches 12 years old. Frank reluctantly agrees.
Mary feels upset and disappointed because Frank said they will be together until the end. Frank leaves Mary and her cat, Fred over at the foster home with a bittersweet goodbye. Later that night, Bonnie tries to comfort him but Frank just leaves. The next day, Frank tries to deliver gifts for Mary but was politely told to leave because Mary doesn’t want to see him.
A few days later, Bonnie sees an advertisment for adoption of a cat that seems to look like Fred. She sends the message to Frank. Being surprised, Frank rushes to the pet adoption centre where he was told that someone was allergic to the cat and it was about to be euthanised. This means that Evelyn is at the foster home. Frank rushes home to grab a folder and tells Roberta to tag along. They barge into the room as what seems to be a math tutorial for Mary. Frank tells Mary that she’s coming back home but she runs away in which Frank responds by throwing the folder onto the desk and chases after Mary. Evelyn tries to give chase but is blocked off by Roberta. Roberta says that it is more important that she sees the folder.
Frank caught up to Mary and realizes that he means a lot to her and that he left her at the foster home because he was scared of ruining her life. Mary said that he didn’t and that’s he’s the best ‘father’ she’ll ever have. They rejoice, hug each other and went back into the room. Roberta takes Mary back into the car and Frank confronts Evelyn. He reveals that Diane had completed the Problem but didn’t want to reveal it until the death of Evelyn. With the choice of earning the honor or nurturing Mary, Evelyn decides to let the world know the problem was solved as she breaks down. In the end, it can be seen that Mary attends college lessons in the afternoon and goes back to the playground, looking happily as ever while pursuing her passion.
Overall, this movie was a great drama. Plot was decent. However, some parts didn’t make sense; the whole hospital scene of showing the birth of babies and the undeniably questionable use of the ‘Diane solved the problem but decide not to reveal’. I mean it didn’t make sense for the former and why didn’t Frank use it in the first place for the latter. Chris Evans did a great job portraying the father and Mckenna Grace was fantastic. Either way, it was quite a tearjerker at least for me and definitely a movie worth watching. It won’t waste your time.
Honestly, I believe that parents should let children decided what they want to do but with rules added to them. Restricting or forcing them to do follow one thing is a bad idea. I would definitely agree with Frank’s philosophy there. Let a child have a normal childhood. That’s what they should be. Happily growing up, having friends and just messing around. If I had a child, I would definitely let him/her have a proper childhood.
‘He wanted me before I was smart’ – Mary.