Director Marc Webb hits the right notes with comedy-drama Gifted. The film balances sentiment with humour through a wonderfully depicted central relationship.
Frank Adler is the guardian of his niece Mary, a young girl gifted in the subject of mathematics. Frank’s hopes for a normal upbringing for Mary are put into doubt when staff at Mary’s new school discover her special talents…
Directed by Marc Webb, with a screenplay by Tom Flynn, Gifted is a sweet story about the relationship between a young girl and her guardian and uncle. The film has a very likeable tone, which allows room for both a little bit of schmaltz, and genuine laughs.
Key to Gifted is the central relationship between uncle and niece. This is depicted in an authentic fashion. The film features plenty of little ticks to make their interactions feel convincing. Other relationships function to help colour the world of Frank and Mary. The relationships Frank and Mary have with others, such as Bonnie and Roberta, primarily further the personalities and the story of the protagonists. The narrative progresses in a timely manner, leaving enough time for character development with neglecting the plot. Some aspects of the narrative are rather predictable. Nevertheless, the story is told with sufficient charm for this not to matter.
Production values in the film are good. Chris Evans delivers a convincing performance as Frank. He is subtle enough to allow Mckenna Grace to shine as Mary. She delivers a great performance, and has good chemistry with Evans. Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, and Lindsay Duncan provide good support. Fred is a wonderfully sweet addition to the film.
Gifted is one of those good-natured films which will make viewers smile. It is sweet without becoming cloying, and humorous without detracting from the emotional content. The film is an entertaining watch.