Frank Adler (Chris Evans) has made a stable life for himself. He’s a freelance boat mechanic living with his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) and home schooling her to the best of his ability. But Frank can’t keep doing this forever. Mary’s mum, before passing away, wanted Mary to live a normal life, something her family never got to experience due to their genius level intellects, which Mary has too. Frank sends her off to regular school, allowing her to fit in and interact with other kids, but she’s too good for it, and everyone knows it, including her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate). That’s when Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) hears of Mary’s ability.
It’s not hard to guess where this plot will lead, and that is the film’s biggest downfall, but through its sincerity and optimistic openness, it works. Whether you’ve seen the mildly spoiler-filled trailer or not doesn’t matter. You’re still going to be able to guess where Gifted’s plot will ultimately end up. It moves in a very predictable manner, resulting in an ending that won’t surprise anyone. One element of the plot did manage to sneak up on me, pulling the rug out from underneath my feet and packing an emotional punch you won’t see coming, but it’s about the only surprise on offer.
Director Marc Webb, returning to original movies for the first time since directing the Amazing Spider-Man films, is right where he belongs. These are the types of films he should be making. It’s not quite on the same level as (500) Days of Summer, that’s a film that’s hard to top, but it’s a big step up over his more big budgeted endeavors. However, the real heart and soul of this movie is the bond between Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace. Their performances are moving and heartfelt, working as the glue to an already fantastic, if not slightly predictable story. Their journey is a heart wrenching watch, but one that leaves you feeling like a better person just from experiencing it.
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