Gifted Review
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To many people, Chris Evans is best known as Captain America—the loyal, patriotic Avenger. But even superheroes need to try something different every once in a while—so, in Gifted, he steps away from his role as a guy who’s trying to save the world to play a guy who’s just trying to save one little girl.

Gifted tells the story of Mary Adler (Mckenna Grace), an exceptional little girl who lives with her uncle, Frank (Evans), in a small apartment in Florida. Though Frank has done his best to shelter Mary, he knows that she needs a normal childhood, too—so he enrolls her in first grade. It doesn’t take long for her teacher (Jenny Slate) to discover that Mary isn’t just a regular first grader. And when the school’s principal gets involved, Frank’s elitist mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), arrives from Boston to fight for custody.

  
 
With its likable cast and challenging story, Gifted is the kind of drama that audiences can get invested in. On the surface, the answers seem almost obvious. After all, Evans is so entirely lovable—and so sincere—as Mary’s sweet and scruffy uncle, who’s determined to shield her from the pain and pressure that led to her mother’s death. He may not have superpowers this time, but he’s still fighting for what he believes. And his character’s fight for this brilliant little girl is moving.

The story is definitely a tear-jerker—though, admittedly, the emotions can all feel overplayed at times. But Gifted is more than just a sweet family drama. It will also make you think. No matter how it may seem on the surface, this isn’t a clear-cut story with easy answers—and both sides of the battle make some valid points. Even though Lindsay Duncan’s Evelyn may seem cruel and callous, her arguments are often justifiable. And as the two sides continue to disagree and debate, you’ll feel for the child who’s caught in the middle.

Still, this isn’t the clever, offbeat, and memorable film that you might expect from the guy who once directed (500) Days of Summer. At times, in fact, it feels more like it belongs on TV on a Sunday night than on the big screen. So if you’re expecting something sharp and fresh and fun, you may be disappointed.

Thanks to its lovable stars, Gifted is undeniably charming. It’s also generally moving but somewhat manipulative. And while it will certainly give you something to think about, it’s not the kind of film that will stay with you long after you leave the theater.


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