4/6/17

Gifted

What is it about children who are uncommonly bright? Do they become a commodity? A freak? An extension of some other person's ego? A target for custody battles? See what happens here, a struggle between a special little girl's devoted uncle, who has custody, and HIS powerful opinionated mother (the little girl's grandmother).

This award-winning film is brilliantly directed by Marc Webb ("500 Days of Summer"), working from a script by Tom Flynn ("Second String"), who brings us a heart-warming PG-13 (mild profanity) story about their conflict. Of special note: Webb has directed a lengthy single-take scene of the girl and her uncle idly chatting while the girl climbs on him like he's a jungle gym. They are on a beach, silhouetted against a gorgeous sunset. Clich├Ęd but spellbinding.

The cast:
  • Chris Evans ("Captain America") is Frank Adler, striving to be the parent his gifted niece otherwise would not have. He knows exactly what his sister wanted for her little girl but his mother doesn't agree. Evans has NEVER been more appealing!
  • Mckenna Grace ("Designated Survivor") is our prodigy Mary Adler, a little girl who loves her one-eyed cat and is wise beyond her years, but she's still a little girl...Just check that gummy smile (she's missing her front teeth!). This girl has a natural talent and is beautifully directed.
  • Lindsay Duncan ("Sherlock") Evelyn knows what is best for her brilliant granddaughter and she will not allow any amateur to stand in her way. Only an actress of Duncan's calibre could inhabit such an icy, conflicted character.
  • Octavia Spencer ("Hidden Figures") Roberta Taylor is the practical voice of reason, a loving neighbor who actually cares about the child. When she steps up to intercede, no one dares challenge her. This actress exudes intelligence and warmth.
  • Jenny Slate (LOTS of TV) Bonnie is Mary's first teacher in a public school. She has no idea what she is in for!
  • Fred, the one-eyed cat isn't listed in the cast. Hmmmm... I wonder if that's his real name.
We have decent, principled people to cheer, with no gunshots, vehicular mayhem or blowie uppie stuff. We see wildly innovative approaches to effective parenting. How can we NOT love this terrific film! After the press screening, we revisited the many, many scenes which we found laugh-out-loud funny, wrenchingly sad, goose bumpy satisfying and most of all: Entertaining.
See this film!
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