Gifted is one of those films systematically engineered to extract tears from as many audiences' ducts as humanly possible; whether those tears are earned or not will be up to you.
Chris Evans – who is usually seen punching supervillains and flexing his enormous biceps as Captain America – plays Frank, who's raising his seven-year-old niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) – the twist being that the girl is a genius-level math prodigy and God-level precocious moppet, the kind that blurts out both numerical square roots and smart-arse answers with ease.
Frank talks to Mary like she’s an adult – and she talks back like one. In one scene, she asks him to tell her the truth about whether there’s a God. Backlit by a vibrant orange sunset, director Marc Webb captures her in silhouette as she climbs her uncle like a small monkey. f it sounds corny, it is.
Yet even the fact that the movie borrows heavily from Good Will Hunting, Five Easy Pieces, family tragedies, custody-battle courtroom dramas, other feel-good flicks and every egghead-vs.-justice folks class-conflict you've ever seen – it's totally forgivable. Cuteness reigns. (Jack Whiting)