“Gifted” Math Genius Charms and Delights Viewers
Frank (Chris Evans) has been raising his niece Mary since her mathematician mother’s suicide. Mary and Frank have lived together for six and a half of Mary’s seven years. On the first day of first grade, Mary’s teacher discovers the child’s math genius. Only at this point, following seven years of distance, does grandma (Lindsay Duncan) appear. Grandma works the legal system to remove Mary from Frank’s care and from public school. She means to benefit from the brilliant little math genius.
Actor Chris Evans, noted lately for his role as “Captain America,” changes gears completely in this small, emotionally fraught film. Eleven year old, cute as a bug, McKenna Grace plays little Mary. Mckenna Grace has accumulated 41 acting credits on TV and in the flickers. The camera and audiences love her.
Excellent physical communication between actors McKenna Grace and Chris Evans
The real chemistry between toothless little McKenna and Chris Evans as Uncle Frank makes the movie wonderful rather than pale and predicable. Mary often treats her uncle as a cat would a comfortable old recliner, she crawls all over him.
Other notable actors include Jenny Slate as a school teacher and Lindsay Duncan, both familiar faces. Octavia Spencer grabbed the Golden Gizmo (the Oscar) for the 2011 movie “The Help.” She is shockingly good here as the neighbor lady who also loves little Mary.
Director Marc Webb made one of my all time favorite films, “500 Days of Summer” (2009), a tragic love story staring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He made that one for $7.5 million. Webb had much larger budgets with “The Amazing Spider-man” and “The Amazing Spider-man 2”.
As director, he makes one scene of love and joy where Mary, Frank and the neighbor lady go to a hospital to experience the ecstasy of families greeting a new baby. I could feel my own endorphins pump in.
While writer Tom Flynn has only three scripts to his credit, none famous, he writes some great dialog for his actors. His writing here comes to a much better standard than I might have hoped.
PG-13 rated “Gifted” runs for one hour and 41 minutes. Produced for a tiny amount by Hollywood standards, $7 million, it brought in $12 million in it’s first week in the theaters. Four strong stars for the charming “Gifted”.