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Non-Review Review: Gifted

Gifted is a sweet little movie, occasionally a little too sweet.

Gifted is essentially a wry family drama, the tale of a custody battle over a gifted young child that plays into larger questions about the responsibilities of parenthood and the expectations heaped upon greatness. Young Mary Adler is undoubtedly a mathematical genius. At the age of six, she is rattling off advanced multiplication and square roots, much to the amazement of the adults around her. Her uncle Frank and her grandmother Evelyn find themselves at odds with how best to raise Mary.

Head and shoulders above the other kids…

Gifted is an ambiguous meditation on the obligations that parents have to their children, to the challenges in determining what is best for their offspring. How does a parent respond to a child who is preternaturally intelligent? Is it right to push a person to be all that they can be? Is it healthier to teach them to accept themselves? It is an intriguing debate. At its most earnest, Gifted plays out like Whiplash by proxy and with numbers. There are time at which Gifted seems a little clumsy, a little awkward in its grand emotional gestures or core themes.

However reductive that summary might seem, Gifted is elevated by the combination of a witty script and a charming cast. In particular, Gifted is anchored in the central dynamic between Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace, who bring a vulnerability and warmth to the relationship between unlikely caregiver and talented youth.

Keep on trucking.

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Non-Review Review: X-Men III – Last Stand

I’ll confess right off the bat that I don’t share the same honest-to-goodness hatred of this third film in the X-Men series that most on-line commentators do. It isn’t a patch on Bryan Singer’s original two films (and – looking at Superman Returns – it might have been better for all if he’d stayed on here), but it isn’t quite as weak as other third-instalments in other superhero franchises (Spider-Man III and Batman Forever, for example). It’s not a fantastic film, and it’s not the final chapter that the film series deserved, but it’s not a complete disaster.

Weathering the Storm...

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