Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Gifted"...A Good Film

I think one of the more unappreciated aspects of watching a movie occurs when you choose a film to watch--something you know nothing about--and it turns out to be great. It's one of the trade-offs of not seeing movies in the theater. If the show's a dud, you just spent good money to watch something bad, or something sub-par. And if you see a great movie in the theater,'s supposed to be great, now, isn't it?

Last night, as I was finishing up a first draft, my wife turned on the movie, Gifted. Neither of us knew much about it. I knew it starred Chris Evans, but that's about it. Mr. Evans is one of the most famous and recognizable actors on the planet, having reached this level of success by playing superheroes.

He was a superhero in Gifted, too. Although, in this film, he's not a hero to billions, but to one extraordinary girl, his niece, Mary.

You can probably tell by the movie poster alone, this is not a big-budget/explosions/world-in-peril/ type show. It's a simple story of a fallen man doing everything he can to make the best life possible for his niece. His mother, his sister's ghost, and his past all work against him. The story details his struggles as he fights to keep Mary home with him.

When you see an actor who is known for such an iconic role, it's easy to look past his/her basic acting skills. Not that we do this on purpose, it's just what happens when all of your senses are being bombarded with lights and sounds. In a project like this, the actor's stripped of his uniform. Evans is simply Frank Adler, boat mechanic, guardian. Evans does a terrific job portraying a vulnerable man trying to survive.

Another wonderful aspect of Gifted is the acting from the supporting cast. There's not a weak link among them. They create a world where everyone is either fighting or helping Frank Adler--either pushing him to what he wants, or pushing him away. And Frank's one-eyed cat named Fred serves as a reminder that even Frank's pet has a tough life.

Mary Adler, the niece, is a mathematical genius, which drives the storyline and creates additional drama to the situation. But I believe it could have been a wonderful and effective story without the little girl possessing this trait. People are removed from homes every day for reasons much more mundane.

Gifted came out last year. It cost (according to IBDb...) $7 million, and it made much more than that. Good for it. Good for Mr. Evans to be part of a movie that surprised us and made us appreciate the pure art of storytelling.

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