Gifted(B-). Chris Evans is probably best known for his roles as Captain America in the Avengers movies or as Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four series. He has gotten some lower-profile roles in other films and, in my view, has proven that he’s more than an action figure actor. He turned in a solid performance in the film Snowpiercer. He’s proven himself again in Gifted.
This is a film about a highly intelligent and adorable little girl—Mary Adler (played brilliantly by Mckenna Grace, Independence Day: Resurgence)—who presents something of a challenge to her Uncle Frank. Uncle Frank just wants Mary to have a normal childhood, which is something his mother deprived Mary’s mother from having. But Mary’s intellect is far above average, and that quickly comes to the attention of Mary’s teacher, who pushes to have Mary put in a more challenging educational environment. The push to harness Mary’s intellect creates a conflict that threatens the close bond Mary and Frank have forged. At times the story seems somewhat contrived, but Mary’s charm, along with the superb dialogue and an unexpected resolution of the conflict, make the film well worth the investment of your time.
(500) Days of Summer (B). This movie gives you a pretty good picture of the highs and lows of relationships. After watching it, I had to see if it was written by a male, and yes, it was (Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber). The movie definitely presents the point of view of Tom Hansen, a young 20-something guy who gave up his dream of being an architect and went to work for a greeting card company. There, he met Summer Finn and fell head-over-heels for her. The story is full of charm and wit. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Looper) has great comic timing as Tom Hansen and Zooey Deschanel (Yes Man) plays an intriguing and mysterious Summer Finn. It’s this mysterious part that caused me to wonder if the film was written by a male. We never really see what it is that motivated Summer Finn and her actions seem almost too mysterious, as if the writers didn’t quite understand her themselves and didn’t know how to write her character. I have no doubt that some of the mystery is intentional on the writers’ part because there’s a convenient story overlay to explain it, but I also wonder if they based the character on someone they met and couldn’t ever figure out. In any event, it’s an entertaining film and worth the price of admission. If you’ve had a recent breakup, I am not sure this is the film for you, but then again, it might be just the ticket to help you move on.