Seven years after his sister’s suicide, Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is the full time-guardian of his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace). Frank and Mary live in a small Florida town in a humble but loving home. Frank has given up his career as a philosophy professor to repair boats and provide for his niece. Gifted begins with Mary’s first day of grade one, which is a conflicting situation — the girl is a bonafide genius and Frank is struggling with his choice to place her in an average public school. This decision sparks a dramatic series of events in which Mary’s estranged grandmother begins a custody battle that Frank needs to fight.
Gifted is an uplifting, sweet movie. The actors all seem really invested in their roles, and there are a few stand out performances. None of these performances, however, can be matched by the brilliance of Mckenna Grace, who plays the precocious, adorable Mary. This young actress is incredible, displaying a range of emotions and depth that will truly make you fall in love with her. Her rapport with Chris Evans is a bittersweet reflection of the tragic circumstances that led to his sister’s suicide. The emotional climax of the film is so satisfying because we’re invested in these characters, and truly care about what happens to them.
The film, in addition to pulling at our heart strings, is an interesting portrayal of some really weird family dynamics. The relationships between Frank, his deceased sister, and their intense mother are multi-faceted. The viewer can simultaneously despise the mother character yet understand part of her actions. The film is part courtroom drama, and in the courtroom the family’s history is dissected. The viewers end up being presented with the facts, as well as the judge, so in the end the audience is equipped to decide the best place for this little girl — hopefully everyone is pleased with the final outcome.