Last month, Cora and I were flown out to Los Angeles for a press junket for Gifted, the new movie starring Chris Evans (, Mckenna Grace, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, and Lindsay Duncan.
The movie, the actors, the interviews, and the whole experience were amazing.
Let me cut to the chase, friends. I have information for you. I know you’re busy.
So you want to know:
- Should you see the movie or not?
- Should you spend you money on it?
- Should you use your Sunday afternoon or your Friday night to see it?
- Should you take your kids or not?
Here’s the skinny. . .
5 Reasons to See Gifted the Movie:
A bit of background first. What’s the deal with this movie?
Gifted is a movie about a single man, Frank Adler (Chris Evans), raising his spirited young niece, Mary (Mckenna Grace), in a coastal town in Florida. Roberta (Octavia Spencer) is a steadfast protector of Mary and Frank, and as their landlady and best friend, and though their “family” may look different to some, it works for them and brings them all great joy.
Mary is a child prodigy–a math wizard–but Frank wants her to live a “normal” life. Understandable, right? Things are pretty unremarkable until Mary goes to school and her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) realizes that Mary’s learning needs cannot be met at this small town school. Then life takes a turn when Frank’s mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) comes into the picture with plans for her granddaughter to go to a proper school, to do intense math research, and to use her ‘gifts’ in a way not aligned with Frank’s original plan.
Here’s the trailer:
Now, why should you see it?
1.) It’s a beautiful story.
Really, Gifted is an interesting and beautiful story. It’s different and unique. And in the end, you’ll leave feeling good.
I don’t know about you, but in this day and age, at this crazy time in our country’s life, I need happy. I need feel-good. I need entertainment that entertains but doesn’t leave me feeling upset, angry, or drained.
You should know that Gifted is rated PG-13, for language (there’s one use of the f-word) and a few instances of other choice words, and there’s one scene where Frank and Bonnie spend time at a bar together and then wake up together the next morning. This complicates things, as you can imagine, because Bonnie is Mary’s teacher.
I know–as I type it it sounds like it’s not at all a movie for kids, but I do think if you prepare your family properly and answer your kids’ questions, kids 10 years and up can handle it. But obviously, you need to make that decision based on your own children.
2.) It gives you a lot to talk about with your kids.
You can print out the rock-star fab discussion guide below, but you can get an idea of the topics here.
Before the movie, consider giving your kids a head’s up. Tell them:
- Look for the different ways that ‘family’ is defined in this movie.
- Love is found in so many forms in this movie–keep your eyes open for the different ways people show love.
- There’s one pretty interesting and important pet in this movie. Just watch for it, and let me know what you think about it afterward.
After the movie, you can chat about:
- What did ‘family’ mean to Mary? To Frank? To Roberta? To Mary’s grandmother, Evelyn? To the foster family? To does ‘family’ mean to you?
- How might ‘family’ be defined in the dictionary? Who creates that definition?
- Think about the many different ways ‘gifts’ were used in this movie. Count them.
- What does it mean to be ‘gifted’? How do you know when you are gifted?
- Though Mary and Frank were the main characters, minor characters played a really important role in this movie. Talk about how this movie would be different without Bonnie or Roberta or Fred.
- It seems as though mathematical skill has been passed down in Mary’s family. What skills, talents, or strengths have been passed down in your family?
Want to grab the whole discussion guide? Sign up below, and it will end up in your inbox in minutes:
3.) The actors totally rock.
Chris Evans and Mckenna Grace have an undeniable chemistry. It’s cool to see dreamy Chris Evans in this more emotional and complicated role, after really only seeing him celebrated as a superhero (though undeniably there’s nothing wrong with that).
Mckenna Grace’s performance is powerful, and at times you actually forget that she’s acting and that she’s not really being pulled away from the only life and only parent figures she’s ever known.
Octavia Spencer is amazing, as always.
Jenny Slate is smart and funny and charming.
Definitely take a minute to check out the photos below:
4.) You’ll laugh, cry, laugh some more and cry some more.
Bring some tissues, or grab a few extra napkins when you buy your popcorn.
It’s hard not to laugh at some of Mary’s quick-witted (occasionally inappropriate) responses to her uncle.
It’s next to impossible not to shed a tear when Frank and Mary are separated.
It’s absolutely unfathomable not to shed a tear when they’re reunited.
It’s a necessity to do both when you view Frank’s attempt to demonstrate to Mary how much joy her birth brought to their family.
5.) Your family will start recognizing love in new places.
Whether it’s that you will again truly appreciate a quiet conversation with a loved one or a sunset or a warm hug, I feel like this movie allows you to appreciate all of the love in your life.
Time spent reading with a friend.
A normal, uneventful school day.
The loved ones who say ‘good-night’ to you in the evening and ‘good-morning’ when you wake.
Getting to work on time.
Smelling the flowers in your back yard.
Laughing with neighbors and making new friends.
Warm, fuzzy snuggles from pets.
Being able to recognize your talents and sharing them with others.
You name it. The little things that may seem so certain and guaranteed now that may be gone in an instant.
So what do you think? Will it be a good fit for your family?
I’d love to know!
Once you see it, connect with the creators. Let them know what you thought.
For more information on Gifted, visit:
- visit Gifted website:http://giftedmovie.com/
- like Gifted on facebook:https://www.facebook.com/giftedmovie
- follow Gifted on twitter:https://twitter.com/giftedthemovie
- follow Gifted on instagram:https://www.instagram.com/giftedmovie
- follow the hashtag: #giftedmovie
And a quick bit of fun info:
- Best Friends Animal Society has partnered with Fox Searchlight and Gifted!
- When you adopt a cat or kitten from any Best Friends location between March 6th and May 8th, Fox Searchlight will make a $25 gift (up to $25,000) to Best Friends to help end the killing of dogs and cats in our nation’s animal shelters.
- Even if you’re not ready to adopt, you can sponsor a cat in need and Fox Searchlight will *match your donation.
- Find more information on the Best Friends Animal Society site.
Stay tuned: Gifted inspired notes coming soon!
fyi: I am so excited to share this experience with you, my friends. Thank you to Fox Searchlight for sending me out to LA for this press event. It was an experience of a lifetime, one Cora and I will never forget. What other 10-year old gets to fly out to California and spend her birthday interviewing stars like Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace, and Octavia Spencer? Not many! As always, my opinions and ideas here are all my own, influenced only by my experience as a parent and educator.