Gifted

Gifted is a heartwarming, slightly melodramatic film that is marked by endearing acting performances and tells an interesting story about a child prodigy. Frank, played by Chris Evans, lives a simple life as a boat mechanic in Florida and has been raising his seven-year-old niece Mary, played by the energetic young actress McKenna Grace. We discover that she is actually a mathematics prodigy after expressing her boredom at her new school, and her sweet teacher Bonnie, portrayed by Jenny Slate, encourages Frank to enroll her in a school for gifted children. However, he is opposed to the idea since he wants Mary to have a normal life unlike her brilliant mathematician mother who killed herself. Octavia Spencer who plays their beloved landlady and good friend also agrees with Frank and cautioned him about starting the new school in the first place. A heartbreaking custody battle ensues after Mary’s grandmother and Frank’s mother who has disappeared from their lives tries to intervene in forcing Mary to follow in the footsteps of her daughter, Mary’s mother, by solely focusing on her studies. The movie reveals the difficulties in how best to educate children, in particular child prodigies like Mary and whether they should attend schools for the gifted or be allowed to live a semblance of a normal life at a regular school. It is very much about how to balance education and simply being a kid. Overall, I found it to be a light-hearted and uplifting story, with some serious undercurrents of information about education, and whose best asset is the pleasant cast of characters.

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