I have been traveling a lot lately (much to my chagrin) and though I feel exhausted, all of the planes, trains and automobiles have given me ample time to download and stream. On a recent flight from San Francisco to Boston I watched Gifted, starring Sudbury, MA native Chris Evans.
I had wanted to see the movie went it first came out in April and I squealed with delight when I saw it was available for free on Virgin America. The premise is that Chris Evans' character, Frank, cares for his niece, who happens to be a mathematical genius. There is no question that Good Will Hunting served as the inspiration for some of this plot (particularly the visit to MIT and the mention of the Fields Medal).
Frank's niece, Mary, is played by actress Mckenna Grace. She reminded me so much of Kiernan Shipka in her first season as Sally Draper on Mad Men. I did a little research and Mckenna Grace is also going to be in the upcoming movie I, Tonya (coming out December 8, 2017) as the young Tonya Harding. I was obsessed with Nancy Kerrigan when I was young, so I will absolutely be seeing that movie.
Mary's most adorable moments are when she's focused on her cat, Fred. Those interactions add much needed levity to an otherwise intense, stressful story.
The tension in the film comes from the sudden arrival of Mary's grandmother, Evelyn, who has just gotten wind of her talent. Evelyn would like Mary to move in with her in Boston, attend a school for the gifted and begin work on some of the world's most complex problems. The story continues in a way that is painfully predictable and unoriginal, but I still cried during some of the custody battle scenes. #Wimp
Octavia Spencer and Jenny Slate (also known as the voice of Marcel the Shell) play supporting roles but are totally underutilized. I found myself looking at the screen and asking, "Is that Oscar winner Octavia Spencer reciting this crappy dialogue?"
Gifted is not a miraculous, make-you-think kind of film. It is however a chance to ogle at Chris Evans for 90 minutes, especially as he's sweet, vulnerable and fiercely protective of his niece. Swoon.
If you're looking for something to watch with the whole family over the Thanksgiving break, this is a good one.