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A sparky young girl has brains beyond her years—but too many adults who think they know what's best for her—in this earnest domestic drama.

Child actor Mckenna Grace outshines the bigger names in this sweet and sentimental family saga as Mary, a precocious, alarmingly intelligent seven-year-old living with her uncle Frank (Chris Evans) in a scruffy, sun-kissed corner of Florida. Mary’s outstanding mathematical abilities attract the attention of her teachers—as well as Frank’s formidable mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan, layered and complex). What follows is a fight for Mary’s future, a detour into family law and a custody battle.

The question at the movie’s heart is: What is best for Mary? The answer Gifted chooses is predictable, but that doesn’t stop the movie from messing with your tear ducts. The performances add up: Evans, whose Frank is engagingly homespun, is eons away from his starchy Captain America, while Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) appeals as Mary’s first-grade teacher. Underused is Hidden Figures’ Octavia Spencer, who, as a strong-willed neighbor, helps to comprise Mary’s makeshift family (alongside a one-eyed cat called Fred). But with warmth and wit beyond her years, it’s Grace who shines the most. “Nobody likes a smart ass,” says her character in a glum moment. How wrong she is.

By: Ellie Walker-Arnott


Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday April 7 2017
Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Marc Webb
Screenwriter: Tom Flynn
Cast: Chris Evans
Lindsay Duncan
Octavia Spencer
Jenny Slate
Mckenna Grace

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