Special to the Village News
The story of “Gifted” weaves together – beautifully I might add – a multi-layered family drama, with several unresolved emotional issues, as well as complicated moral and social dilemmas.
While the core of the film revolves around a “child savant,” the wonderfully written story covers many shades, and aspects, of all the family members.
Starring Chris Evans, who is primarily known for roles in comic figure and sci-fi films, as the uncle, and Lindsay Duncan playing the grandmother and McKenna Grace as the niece and granddaughter, their performances were superb, stirring goosebumps and bursts of laughter in the theater, as well as conveying several deeply relatable family conflicts and scenarios. Octavia Spencer was also cast – though she had a minor, yet heartwarming, role.
The writer cleverly prods and pokes at the character relationships, delivering prickly, nervy and sensitive family moments between each character. Other actors, including the uncle’s lawyer, render deft portrayals in their smaller roles.
As the onion layers get peeled away, the complex story navigates the conflicts that continue to arise between the adults of the child, some of which had grown quietly in intensity due to years, I feel certain, of burying them.
These very stressful matters and memories mix private family issues with broader societal implications all the while trying to provide a “normal” upbringing for the child. The difficulties trying to accomplish this result in many raw, and divided, emotional moments – as well as some moments that were very uplifting and memorable.
Though, clearly, most families don’t raise a prodigy let alone a savant, the tumultuous nature of the family dynamic in this film – no matter what the impetus – is one with which many families can likely identify.
This story has many moving and compelling angles, as well as messages. Down to earth and truly memorable acting performances make this film a “gift” for the audience. It shouldn’t be missed.
****/***** (Four out of Five Stars)