Wednesday, 21 June 2017
101 Minutes. Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, Glenn Plummer & Octavia Spencer. Director: Marc Webb.
See if you can solve this math problem Cap! Because there's a lot of X and Y variables in this equation. Take a child genius, mathematics prodigy minus her mother and add her uncle as her legal(?) guardian. Multiply the advanced problems of a new school of students and social problems (she 'Moonlight's some bus bully over the head with a syllabus textbook) that can't match her I.Q. and divide the remaining family over the custody of choice over what this kid could and more importantly should do with her milleniuum problem solving, one in a million talent and what do you get? A lot of complication? Because this is getting confusing right? And someone needs to explain this to us like we are 10 year olds. Luckily webbed up by awesome 'The Amazing Spider-Man' director Marc Webb we see there's more behind Captain America's shield in Chris Evans' acting homecoming. As the honourable and dutiful, fantastic Captain Steve Rogers hunts for good will and a pursuit for happiness amongst this search for hidden figures revealed behind the dry-erase or chalk boards. Played by real-life acting prodigy Mckenna Grace, this child in question is a young Einstein, but she's just a kid! So shouldn't she just act as such? Or is that even our choice? Or hers? Is the prodigy really more important than the actual child? That's what we are presented with 'Gifted'.
Evans is truly gifted too in this magnificent movie that is all about Grace. After bringing the mandatory, bigger than his body integral integrity to the spangled stars and stripes that leads the Avengers. Being the most recognisable face in the movie worlds most famous and formidable franchise, Evans shows he is more than just a shield. And that that good ole Cap virtue was there long before he suited up to infinity. Showing his heaven sent place between the Chris Pine's and Thor Hemsworth's as a legit hero of a leading man...even without the "super" in front of his nomad name. Suited and Springsteen boot-cut, blue jean booted in a wardrobe of grubby, greaser, used to be white-tees and a 5 o'clock on a Thursday shadow, Evans cuts an ashy boardwalk figure as a brooding, hulking guy who is your key to fixing boats off the Florida beaches. But behind the everyday handyman sought after skill is a sensitive soul and a heart of a hero who would do anything for his niece like she was his own daughter. And that is what sets the personable Chris apart in an award worthy moment which is by far the best thing the 'Before I Go' actor and director (Netflix people) and 'Snowpiercer' star (good luck!) had ever done. After the first Avenger brought the Bucky done gone heart to 'The Winter Soldier' and 'Civil War' this enhanced individual shows us all the gifts in his bag of tricks. This isn't just Evans' ace in the hole either. He could do this all day and if so then we are with him...to the end of the line.
But the real star of this multiplying show is Mckenna. As this young actress shows the Grace of a star to be, 10 years her senior. This is her inspired, Mackenzie Foy 'Interstellar' moment. You all remember where the true grit of Taylor Swift's singing sensation sister Hailee Steinfeld came from right? Well keep a look out for Grace. Because one day she'll be everywhere. Adorable and accomplished, she shows the maturity of someone beyond her peers but the childlike wonder of someone akin to them in youthful spirit. She aces her first big acting test so much so she's ready for another. Luckily a loving 'SNL' and 'Parks and Recs' alumnus Jenny Slate is willing to wipe the board clean for the next problem, as more than Evans' love interest. Whilst Oliver and Tony award winning, Oscar 'Birdman' British actress Lindsay Duncan shows more method behind the rich entitlement madness of meddling. As an unflinching mathematician of generations of gift and curse genius, convinced of whats vicariously best for her granddaughter and the child she lost. It's hard to direct blaming fingers of whose wrong here when everyone has a point. Until the legal aid of beyond the case passionate lawyer, a great Glenn Plummer of 'Colors' fame comes into play. And who could forget the Academy help of Oscar nominated 'Hidden Figures' brain Octavia Spencer, spending time for this child that is only hers by neighbouring qualities. But even in a limited role Octavia is as outstanding as usual. '500 Days Of Summer' versatile direct Webb, who brought more heart to an underrated 'Amazing' Marvel is a wonder as he does it again in a definitive drama for the Sunday matinee that is actually as real and raw as it gets. Never giving into sentimental sap or schmaltz as this jerks every emotion, more than mere tears. And for all the 'Kramer vs Kramer' courtroom and litigating drama of these heavy, aching hearts and bruised, troubled souls there's a battered but no quit beauty that shines as it is set alight. From a truly heartfelt hospital scene that like many isn't what it seems, to a raw but warm finale reveal that will spoil your make-up. But nothing glows more than the orange soaked daddy-figure/daughter days at the beach by the fading Florida, Tampa sun. As Graces's silhouette cuts a loving figure, playfully walk climbing up Evans' leg as she holds his outstretched hand or sitting up on his strong, never burdened shoulders. It's moments like this that like this movie are truly the gift. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Good Will Hunting', 'The Pursuit Of Happyness', 'Hidden Figures'.