Gifted introduces you to the best kid actress I’ve seen since Dakota Fanning. She’s Mckenna Grace who stars as child genius Mary Adler. The 6-year-old lives a quiet existence with her uncle Frank. He’s done by Chris Evans who tosses aside his Captain America garb for a story that is light years deeper.
Evans — who is quite good — ought to do this more often.
Frank took Mary in after her mother — his sister — committed suicide. Mary is a math whiz who can do calculations in her head that most people can barely do with a calculator. With the potential to solve the world’s biggest math mysteries, a battle ensues between Frank and his mother over the child’s fate and how she should be raised and schooled.
The acting by a terrific cast is good but the movie is owned lock, stock and barrel by Grace. This kid has great range and can run the emotional gamut from giddy to crying in a single scene. That’s hard — even impossible — for most adult actors to do. Grace’s future is bright and I look forward to seeing more.
Gifted explores relationships along a three-dimensional path. That path has answers as difficult as the questions. At the same time, it has heart; a big, deep, rich, heart and one that beats with a feel-good rhythm that sends you from the theater feeling lighter than air.
Director: Marc Webb
Stars: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at the AMC 12, the Fairchild Cinemas Pasco and Queensgate 12s and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.