This post was sponsored by the Role Mommy Writer’s Network.
As a parent, I am fully aware of the fact that I often view my kids through rose-colored glasses. So when my son was reading 7th grade books in 3rd grade or citing the names of obscure marine life, I chalked it up to all the reading I did with him as an infant. It wasn’t until several people, including educators, suggested that I have him tested for our school’s Gifted and Talented Education Program that I began to entertain the idea that maybe his intelligence was above average. Perhaps that is why Marc Webb’s latest film Gifted deeply affected me.
Gifted follows the story of seven-year-old Mary (Mckenna Grace), child prodigy and niece of Frank Adler (Chris Evans) who’s plans for a normal life are upended, resulting in a heart-wrenching custody battle. Frank has been raising his niece as her de facto guardian since her mother committed suicide when Mary was just six months old. Mary’s mother was an auspicious mathematician, who dedicated her life to solving the Navier-Stokes problem. Believing that his sister would want Mary to live experience life as a normal child, Frank enrolls her in a regular public school, against the advice of landlady and best friend Roberta (Octavia Spencer).
On the first day of school, Bonnie, Mary’s teacher, immediately recognizes her giftedness. Her intent to give Mary the best education results in a offer for a full scholarship to a private school from the current principal. But Frank is adamant about raising Mary as a normal child. He is protective of Mary, particularly given the amount of pressure his sister must have been under to have taken her life. And yet, the audience always feels that Frank wants what is best for Mary.
In the midst of navigating public school and raising a 7-year-old girl as a single parent, Franks’ mother emerges after learning of Mary’s mathematical abilities. Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) believed her daughter’s success as a mathematician was thwarted by a myriad of factors including her mental state and her relationship with Mary’s father. As an aspiring mathematician herself, she relinquished her career when she married and started a family…at a cost. Her deep-seated resentment plays a part in her desire for Mary to be specially tutored in order to devote her life to mathematics.
The ensuing custody battle between Evelyn and Frank is excruciating. As a parent, I felt the pain that Frank and Mary endure as their bond and identity as a family is threatened. The film is a poignant reminder that families come in all different shapes. I love the film’s important message that the family you have may not necessarily be the family you were born into.
In anticipation of the film’s release this Friday, April 7th, 2017, Fox Searchlight Pictures put together a Gifted Discussion Guide around the film’s important lessons. With the help of the study guide, families can discuss the unique gifts/talents each of us possess, the important role of women in society, how our teachers leave a lasting impression on their students, and what it means to be a family.
For more information about the film visit the website or continue the discussion online via their social channels: