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Gifted Movie Review

Reviewed by on Apr 12, 2017
Rating: 5 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw the serious yet funny movie Gifted. If you were unbelievably, genius-level smart at one school subject, would your family want you to devote your life to that subject? Check our review.

By: Lynn Barker

If your Uncle Frank (Chris Evans who plays Captain America) was super cute, smart and fun and he raised and home-schooled you, would you want to enroll in “real” school? And what if you were a true math genius? Should you do what your grandma wants and go to the “gifted” school where your genius is appreciated but maybe exploited? That’s the problem for young Mary (Mckenna Grace).

Mary waves goodbye to GrandmaMary waves goodbye to GrandmaCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Hanging with Uncle Frank

Almost tween Mary loves living with her really fun Uncle Frank who has raised her since her mom died soon after she was born. They have fun every day on the boats Frank repairs and with their one-eyed cat Frank and Roberta (Octavia Spencer), the very cool lady next door. Mary is a major math whiz and Frank has successfully home-schooled her but now, it’s time for her to go to first grade at the local elementary school. She hates the idea.

Roberta and Frank talk about MaryRoberta and Frank talk about MaryCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Too Smart for First Grade

As she predicted, Mary is bored to death in first grade. She is so much smarter than the other kids, especially in math, that even her sweet and kind teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) can’t keep up with her. School principal Mrs. Davis (Elizabeth Marvel) wants Frank to enroll her in a local school for gifted children but he says his sister, Mary’s mom, wanted her to have a more normal life and friends her age and refuses. Frank is obviously a good, loving parent figure for Mary.

Bonnie is stunned at Mary's math skills in classBonnie is stunned at Mary's math skills in classCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Enter Snooty Grandma

Turns out that Mary’s mom was also a big math whiz as was Mary’s grandma Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan). Mrs. Davis calls Evelyn to come make sure Mary gets into the gifted school. When Mary hits a boy for tripping and hurting a younger boy, she’s in trouble. Frank is proud of her for standing up for a weaker kid but says she shouldn’t hit anyone.  Now, she is really encouraged to go to the other gifted kid school before she acts out again.

Bonnie hugs her student MaryBonnie hugs her student MaryCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Fight for Custody

Rich Grandma Evelyn doesn’t like that Frank lives in a modest little house and Mary doesn’t have her own room. Mary couldn’t care less but grandma did bring her a new cool laptop. When Frank refuses to turn Mary over to grandma, she sues for custody. Meanwhile Frank and Mary’s teacher Bonnie start dating. During a court-ordered trip to grandma’s in Boston, Mary is taken to M.I.T to solve an impossible math problem. She does really well, further proving to grandma that this kid needs to forget childish things and devote her life to math.

Frank and his mom Evelyn argue over Mary's futureFrank and his mom Evelyn argue over Mary's futureCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Big Changes

Who will win? Is there any way for Mary to be a regular kid and do kid things and still be a math prodigy? Will she end up living with Frank or her stern grandmother? There are some big changes for everyone on the way to the outcome.

Mary puzzles over a hard math problemMary puzzles over a hard math problemCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

Wrapping Up

Gifted is a great movie. Every actor in it does a really exceptional job. It’s great to see Chris Evans get to show us that he has way more emotional acting ability than he can display as Captain America. And talk about cool actors, almost 11-year-old McKenna Grace is just amazing. She makes you really want to be besties with Mary, or at least want her for your little sister!  She is smart, kind, really funny and there isn’t one false note in her performance.

Octavia Spencer as Roberta with Mary and Frank at a hospitalOctavia Spencer as Roberta with Mary and Frank at a hospitalCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The always great Octavia Spencer is wise, feisty and funny as well and doesn’t just walk through what could have been an easy role as the outspoken neighbor. Every one of the supporting actors in the movie is wonderful. Chris Evans and Jenny Slate even dated for a long time after the film wrapped. The basic story might be predictable except there is a doozy twist toward the end which turns things in Frank’s favor that you will not see coming.

Roberta and Mary sing soul music karaokeRoberta and Mary sing soul music karaokeCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The dialogue in the movie is totally believable and there is a lot of really fun humor throughout despite a serious child custody battle. Everybody in my screening was laughing and, at one point, crying. Younger pre-tweens might not get everything they see but they can relate to funny Mary and root for her. Teens will certainly “get” the film as will their parents. I see very little that is false about this heartfelt, funny and very human film. We go five stars.

Gifted Movie Rating:5

Gifted Movie PosterGifted Movie PosterCourtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

You can now see Gifted in most theaters!


Have Your Say

How would you feel if you were brilliant at something and family wanted you to give up a lot of your childhood life to devote yourself to it? Would you do it or rebel? Give us your opinion below.