I really didn’t know anything about this film going in, other than seeing the movie poster. But as it was an advance screening with my Cineworld card, I thought – why not, I’ll give it a go. And I’m glad I did.
So it turns out the story is about a young girl (Mckenna Grace)who is a math’s genius (like a serious genius) who is in the care of her Uncle (Chris Evans) who is trying to raise her to have a normal childhood. When her brilliance is picked up upon the absent grandmother enters to try and gain custody.
I was sceptical when the film first started, the jokes were cheesy and not that funny, and the chemistry between Grace and Evans seemed a bit off with the first 5-10 minutes feeling a little bit wooden. There was also a whiff of a precocious child and boring everyman Uncle to bore us for the next hour and forty minutes. However, after what was a slow first ten minutes, this film quickly turned itself into one of the best new releases I’ve seen this year.
This film provides us with a group of characters you can’t help but warm to. Despite the rocky start, Grace and Evans bounce off each other fantastically well and their rapport is about as charming as it comes. Throw in yet another fantastic performance from Octavia Spencer and delightful support from Jenny Slate, and this film was onto a winner. What this film also does well, is give us a villain you probably won’t completely despise. No, you won’t root for them in the slightest, but the complications of real and relatable family bonds and issues doesn’t make the journey of this film clear cut, at times dropping into grey areas.
The premise of this movie may flirt dangerously with the falling into cliches, however, it feels fresh and genuine throughout (first 10 minutes aside). No, it isn’t full of twists and turns, and there is nothing overly surprising in there, but no punches are helped, and prepare for sucker punches and tear jerking moments. This a brilliantly told story, and is assisted by a very well chosen soundtrack, knowing exactly what we need to hear to send our emotions over the edge. I found myself at times wanting to stand up and shout at the screen (not really acceptable in reasonable busy showing!), shed a small tear of joy, and also floods of tears in despair.
I take my hat off to everyone involved in this movie, from story, to production, to acting. It is an all round fantastic display, and one I would recommend going out and seeing when it comes out in a week or two. Gifted will both warm and break your heart a few times throughout its hour and forty run, so be sure to take some tissues with you. I’d be surprised if you last the distance with dry eyes.