Review by Brylle Fajardo
Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy – his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – in a coastal town in Florida. Frank’s plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the 7-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary.
Gifted opens to an excellent first act, with a surprisingly engrossing and grounded introduction to an extraordinary child, Mary, adapting to her mise-en-scene and the society within it, and her caring adaptive uncle whose only hope is to give her an ideal childhood— one that teaches her to socialize and become compassionate. The first act is charmingly captivating, giving a fairly strong ground for the story to trundle onward. However, the second and third act seem to have fallen into a melodramatic mess— a cookie-cutter courtroom drama that it should’ve avoided turning into. It uses a bland and uninspired conflict that we’ve seen and grown tired of: a “who takes custody of who” predicament that we all might roll our eyes with. It becomes a letdown when it becomes such, as the premise could’ve let out a more fascinating trial for these characters to come toe to toe with.
What worsens everything mentioned is that, the characters move forward with questionable actions that are too illogical – only making the story sadder— unaware that its flow has become too unconvincing for such to become really effective. But even with the bad characterization in the second and third act, the actors’ performances managed to be fantastic and sturdy. Quite sappy and predictable, Gifted works on a certain level due to its cast and the momentary charms that flare up in the first act. In the end, it isn’t all too bad, really, but Marc Webb seriously could’ve considered thinking twice since in all reality, this drama could’ve been a small, and greatly heartwarming wonder if written by a better mind.
Gifted is now showing in Philippine cinemas. Distributed by 20th Century Fox.