Gifted Review – A Perfectly Balanced Film of Life, Love, Hurt and Hope

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Gifted, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents the story of balance, of finding the right place, of love, passion, hope, the cruelties of predestination, the mysteries of fate, the pursuit of betterment, and what to do when the worlds collide.

Directed by Marc Webb, Gifted stars Chris Evans, McKenna Grace, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Elizabeth Martin, and Octavia Spencer and was written by Tom Flynn.

Gifted opens as a camera pans small bungalows some with splashes of tropical colors, to match the sprouting palm trees, some grey in places that were once white, on this day Frank Adler, played by Chris Evans is knocking on the door of the bathroom, attempting to coax his niece, Mary, played by newcomer Mckenna Grace, out of the bathroom.

When she opens the door, after her personal assessment of looking like a Disney character, she begins again on the subject of school, to which, he explains the necessity of school, of advancing, of being around kids her own age.

A United Kingdom Review - Beautiful, Four Stars, A Must See Film

After Mary boards the bus to her new life, Roberta, played by Octavia Spencer, arrives, and explains if to Frank that he needs to go and get her and "if something happens to that child, I'll never forgive you. "You'll see" she says, "someone will take her away . . .from us."

Roberta is the landlord of this south Florida bungalow park. She, Frank, and Mary are somewhat of a surrogate family and with what people would consider the less than ideal living arrangements, and schools and mandatory laws Mary's happiness might be lost in rules and a power play.

Back at school Mary is in the first grade and having been home schooled until now, she is introduced to children her own age who are all developing at the appropriate level when her teacher Ms. Stevenson, played by Jenny Slate, begins on day one asking simple math problems.

Soon Mary has taken over as Ms. Stevenson, gets caught in the trap of trying to find a mathematical problem she can't solve, and Mary has her running to the calculator and explaining to everyone that she maybe a child genius.

The knowledge that a child, any child, is a prodigy is the beginning of overseers who "only want what's best." Soon, the principal, Gloria Davis, played by Elizabeth Marvel, calls Frank in for a conference suggesting that Mary's gift is so surprising that she needs to be in a gifted school where other students like herself can learn to their fullest potential.

Frank, who obviously knows Mary is a genius, explains what she needs is to be around children her own age, to learn social skills, to make friends and have play-dates. Bonnie Stevenson, Mary's teacher does a little goggle research and finds that Mary's mother was a mathematical genius that committed suicide. Frank is her brother.

Soon with Mary in public school and the state laws mandating intervention, is lack of concern over intellectual ability abuse? To Frank's surprise his mother, Evelyn, Mary's maternal grandmother, played by Lindsay Duncan arrives on the scene.

Table 19 Review – Charming, A Quirky, Unpredictable, Dramedy

Evelyn is British, an intellectual, married to a former professor and had two genius children, Frank and Claire, who spent her life working on one of the seven unsolvable problems of mankind. Evelyn sues Frank for custody, only after she is notified that Mary is a mathematical genius, and the court orders Frank to allow Mary to travel with her grandmother.

I really enjoyed Gifted. I think the brilliance of the film is that it has many great moments as it brings together these two very different worlds of academia, at the Nobel winning MIT mathematician level and the common intellectual level where most of us reside, and all the elements of what each of these hold dear.

Granted it is a sugary sweet-hearted film that pulls the heartstrings on every level. Do we want our brooding and emotionally hurt Frank to fall for Ms. Stevenson, Mary's teacher who is torn between his injured soul and her bright promise?

And how far is too far in family court intervention? Should a man who has no health insurance, and feels that first grade, even for a genius, is best, be penalized to the point of removing his child?

Octavia Spencer is at her usual best and gives a solid supporting performance as the landlord with heart, dispensing motherly advice to Mary and brotherly advice to Frank.

Newcomer Mckenna Grace pops on screen with her charm, natural charisma and has the ability to deliver her lines with just the right amount of emotion as needed. The script has her asking the usual questions most first graders ask and the director did very well capturing her boundless energy.

Chris Evans was able to authentically capture the emotion of a man who is suddenly caught in a battle with a more formidable force and one who is hiding many secrets. His performance hit the right points, the frustration, angry, hurt usually present when good parents are in these siutaions.

Being set in Florida, several of the scenes that really stand out are set are incomparable beauty of nature, the water, beaches, incredible sunsets which sets up direct opposition to the hallowed halls of Massachusetts Institute of Technology with its marbled rotunda and seven unanswerable questions and posies one of its own: can the two exists in unity?

Oddly as we see from the scenes at MIT, the seven unanswerable questions are, in reality, powerless over the questions that plague most of humanity: Why we often hurt those closest to us? Why do parents walk away from their children? Why do suicides happen?

Gifted is playing in select cities now and opens in theaters everywhere Friday April 14, 2017.

A beautiful film of life, Gifted is uplifting and full of love and hope. See it.

 

Haute Tease

  • Academy Issues Statement Regarding “Alone Yet Not Alone” Song Decision

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Board of Governors’ decision to rescind the Original Song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” music by Bruce Broughton, was made thoughtfully and after careful consideration.  The Academy takes very seriously anything that undermines the integrity of the Oscars® voting process. The Board regretfully concluded that Mr. Broughton’s actions did precisely that.

     
  • 18 Penn State “Brothers” Arrested in Fraternity Murder

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Eighteen Beta Theta Pi Alpha Upsilon Fraternity brothers at Penn State University, still synonymous with pedophile cover up of football Coach Jerry Sandusky, have been arrested in the shocking hazing death of Timothy Piazza, a freshman pledge, during the annual Rush Week.

     
  • La Hacienda Mexican Restaurant Scottsdale Review - Time Honored Traditions From the Father of Mexican Cuisine

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    La Hacienda Restaurant by Richard Sandoval, the signature restaurant at The Fairmont Scottsdale Arizona Princess Resort, where modern interpretations of classic Mexican cuisine reigns supreme is just one of the reasons many venture to this revered resort.

     
  • Academy Announces 2016 Oscars® Governors Ball Creative Team

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Academy governor Jeffrey Kurland, event producer Cheryl Cecchetto and master chef Wolfgang Puck will return to create this year’s Governors Ball, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ official post-Oscar®celebration.  

  • Two NYPD Police Officers Executed in Gangland Style Ambush

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Two NYPD Police Officers, in a gangland style hit, were shot at point blank range while sitting in a marked police cruiser outside the Tompkins Housing Project in Brooklyn at around 3:00pm Saturday.

Crime

  • Theater Shooter Charged; Prosecutor Plans Two Fold Strategy

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Accused theater shooter James Holmes was officially charged for the crimes committed during the midnight screening of the Warner Bros film, "The Dark Knight Rises."

     
  • People Exclusive: Husband of Murdered Texas Fitness Instructor Shares Theory on Who Killed His Wife: 'It Had to Be Someone She Knew'

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Brandon Bevers, the husband of a Texas fitness instructor who was found dead inside a church last month just before she was to teach an early morning class, believes his wife knew her killer.

     
  • Homicide Ruling in Staten Island Choke Victim Case

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The death of Eric Garner, 43, the Staten Island father of two choked to death by New York Police Officers after being detained on a city street, has been ruled a homicide by the New York City Medical Examiner.

     
  • Two Majors Cities Hit With Mass Shooting Scares in One Day

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Three days after a TSA agent was killed at LAX during a Mass Shooting, the Westfield Garden State Mall in Paramus, New Jersey and Central Connecticut State University Campus were both targeted by deranged individuals.

     
  • Oregon School Shooting Brings Total to 74 Since Sandy Hook Massacre

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Freshman Emilio Hoffman was shot and killed when a lone gunman entered Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon, yesterday, and opened fire killing the 14 year old before turning the gun on himself.

Theatre, Music, Books

  • Judi Dench's Exits & Entrances: A Celebration Of Shakespeare

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A Shakespearean celebration, with readings by Dame Judi Dench, David Suchet, Emilia Fox and the late Jeffery Dench. Exits and Entrances commemorates the 400th anniversary on April 23rd 2017 of the death of the world's most celebrated playwright William Shakespeare.

     
  • An A-List Line-Up of the Most Acclaimed African American Talent Join For One Night Celebrating the Spoken Word with Music and Dance

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    WordTheatre’s Storytales: Featuring celebrities performing stories from acclaimed African-American author John Edgar Wideman’s literary anthology ‘Briefs’ at the Ford Amphitheatre Saturday October 6, 2012.

     
  • The Tall Trees of Paris Book Review - An Exquisite, Vibrant, Introduction to The New Parisian Art Scene

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Tall Trees of Paris, a flamboyant coffee table art book from Portland gallery owner and curator, Matt Wagner, introduces readers to the colorful world of Parisian artists from the point of view of the artists themselves.

     
  • V Theater Las Vegas Review - Entertainment Aplenty

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    No matter how many times you’ve visited Vegas, no trip would be complete without taking in a show or two amidst the time you spend eating, gaming, clubbing, sunning and otherwise funing in Sin City.

     
  • HL A&E Presents The Best Summer 2016 Music Festivals, by the Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Every year, thousands of people flock to church. The devotees pray in flower crowns and straw hats, fringe-laden vests and neon body paint. They are the congregation of music lovers, gathering from many different corners of the world to worship at the summer’s many music festivals.