Gifted (Webb, 2017)

There’s nothing wrong with Marc Webb’s Gifted. It’s heartwarming without being saccharine, blessed with a strong, feisty performance from young Mckenna Grace. Playing an outspoken math prodigy named Mary Adler, she exudes confidence and intelligence, and easily wins you over with her humour and emotionality. As her easygoing uncle and guardian, Chris Evans is lovely and grounded, and the pair have palpable chemistry together. In supporting roles, Lindsay Duncan is tops as always in the role of Mary’s imperious grandmother (she really needs more mainstream roles), Jenny Slate is sweet as her first-grade schoolteacher, and Octavia Spencer adds some soul whenever she’s onscreen as Mary’s neighbour and secondary caregiver.

There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s not exactly a knockout, either. Centred on a custody battle that will determine Mary’s future, it plays out exactly as it should, and aside from a few last-minute reveals, there’s nothing terribly exciting here (save for the aforementioned performances). Comfort food for a rainy day, in other words. My theatre audience ate it up, however, so maybe watching this with a group of friends would be a good idea. And, though I didn’t cry, you might need a box of Kleenex to pass around, too.