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Watch This Review

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Movie Review

Frank didn't know.

When his genius mathematician sister wanted to talk with him some seven years ago, he had no clue that it would be the last time they could speak. He didn't know how much she hurt. Or what she was dealing with and might do. Frank didn't have the slightest indication that her choice to end her own life would change everything in his.

Frank also didn't realize that his sister's child, Mary, would have no one else to rely on. And when he stepped up to that responsibility, he didn't have the slightest hint that he could fall so completely in love with a small defenseless child. He didn't expect the tidal wave of emotions and parental fears.

On top of all that, he didn't fully understand that sending her to public school would be the catalyst that brought Mary's own staggering genius to light. Nor could he have foreseen how his manipulative mother would come galloping in on her intellectually superior high horse, determined to provide the young savant with a more stimulating educational environment, or that a court case for Mary's custody would ensue.

But for all of his lack of insight, there is one thing Frank is totally sure of: He will do anything, sacrifice anything and endure anything for his young Mary.

That's what love does.

Positive Elements

There is no question about Frank's devotion to Mary. He briefly mulls the possibility of handing her over to a foster family when she's just an infant, but finds it impossible to do so. Since then, he's reordered everything in his life to care for her.

In fact, Frank's choice—one made out of deep love, not reluctant duty—has transformed him into a better person. When asked what his greatest fear is, Frank replies that it's the worry that he might do anything to "ruin Mary's life." And it's very clear that Mary recognizes and returns Frank's unconditional love. "He wanted me before I was smart," she says matter-of-factly.

At one point, Mary gets understandably upset over the revelation that her biological father doesn't really want anything to do with her. Frank then takes Mary to a maternity ward so she can see how a child's birth is celebrated by family members as such a wonderfully happy event. Frank assures her that her birth was just as joyful for everyone in attendance. Mary is so moved that she pleads to watch another newborn celebration just so she can be a part of it with a family of strangers.

Spiritual Content

Mary asks Frank if there is a God, and whether Jesus is God; Frank admits he doesn't know. In fact, he doesn't think anyone knows the answers to those questions for sure. Mary says their friend and landlady Roberta has told her that God is very real. Again, Frank expresses his lack of conviction or certainty on the subject, but he assures her that Roberta loves her dearly.

Sexual Content

Frank and Mary's teacher, Bonnie, get drunk at a bar and later make out on his bed. Bonnie's shown the next morning wrapped in a sheet. In fact, Mary accidentally walks in and catches her like that, much to Bonnie's chagrin.

Frank laments having failed to recognize his sister's emotional distress and eventual suicide because, at the time, he was so eager to go out and "get laid."

Violent Content

Mary spots a 12-year-old boy bullying someone much younger. And after yelling at him to stop, she takes matters into her own hands and hits the bully in the face with a book, giving him a bloody nose.

As mentioned, we learn that Mary's mother committed suicide.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and three s-words join two uses of "a--" and several misuses of God's name (including one pairing with "d--n").

Drug and Alcohol Content

Frank goes to a bar to drink a few times. Another regular there mentions he's there most Friday nights. On one occasion he and Bonnie meet there. They talk and play a drinking game with shots, both leaving pretty tipsy.

Other Negative Elements

Mary, obviously, is very bright. And sometimes that heightened level of intelligence gets her in trouble when she talks back or yells at adults. Those smarts also make it difficult at times for Mary to connect with other kids. Frank assures her that her mom "would have wanted you to have friends." Mary then asks with a frown, "Idiot friends?"

As the story unfolds, Mary's grandmother Evelyn repeatedly proves to be more concerned about her own needs than she is about Mary's.


Actress Mckenna Grace has the best, most lovable frown-face ever.

In fact, this very capable young actress so inhabits every raised eyebrow, toothless grin and sharp-minded wisecrack of her 7-year-old genius character, Mary Adler, that you can't help but be completely engaged with her by about, oh, three minutes into this film. She is a delight.

The movie itself has a handful of headshake-worthy bits (including the implication of a drunken tryst and a lone f-word) that Chris Evan's affable Uncle Frank would likely do his best to ensure his young charge never heard or saw. But they are few. By the time the credits roll, Gifted delivers a warm, heartstring-plucking message about our inbuilt need to love and be loved. It proudly proclaims the self-sacrificial, life-changing joys of family.

It's the kind of uplifting, wipe-a-tear-from-your-eye stuff that even the most grumpy and solitary minded among us would have a tough time frowning over. Especially when Mckenna Grace starts scowling.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range





Chris Evans as Frank Adler; Octavia Spencer as Roberta Taylor; Mckenna Grace as Mary Adler; Jenny Slate as Bonnie; Lindsay Duncan as Evelyn Adler


Marc Webb ( )


Fox Searchlight Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

April 7, 2017

On Video

July 25, 2017

Year Published



Bob Hoose

Content Caution

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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