The movie “Gifted” has ingredients of films we have seen before about child custody; probably the most famous of those is “Kramer vs Kramer” that was released in 1979. What is different with the story in Gifted is the suicide of the child’s mother, who was a mathematical genius and her suicide and prodigy are the connection to the 7-year-old child she left behind, who inherited her mathematical gifts. The rest of the story slowly uncovers the reasons why this brilliant woman killed herself and her brother, played by Chris Evans, who is trying to prevent her child from following her same depressing path in life. When your a genius at the level of Mary, the child in this movie played very well by Mckenna Grace, just like most everything else in life, there are good parts and bad parts. The good parts are your massive intelligence at a level where you could potentially change the world with your inventions or ideas. The bad parts are that you might become socially inept because you will be going to school in think tanks or special schools, possibly going to college with people much older than you and because of this you might never achieve your potential as a human being and as well as a gifted prodigy. Fundamentally, this movie asks the question: “is it even possible to be a child prodigy and also develop normal social skills”? As this movie shows, the young girl can be very impatient and rude around other ordinary children, which would be just one of many problems trying to raise a gifted child.
We find out during the story that one of the main reasons for the woman’s suicide was because of her overbearing mother, who tried to control her life and put too much pressure on her to succeed, even to the point of trying to ruin her relationships. Most of this comes out during the child custody court hearings which were boring at some points, but in the end took an unexpected twist that I thought was well done and lead to a satisfying conclusion. Most movies about child prodigies that can only come for Chess, Music and Mathematics are for the most part very impressive when they show the prodigy performing their main talent and this movie has several impressive mathematical demonstrations by Mary that I thought were very well done. Octavia Spenser also stars in this movie as neighborhood friend of Mary and her uncle and she seems out of place in this story and perhaps there was a deal made to add her to the movie to obtain more ticket buyers due to her recent success in movies like “Hidden Figures” that was another movie about a mathematical child prodigy.
Gifted is a good movie about a child prodigy but not a great one and I do recommend it.