Gifted [2017] ★★½

 “Gifted” is a crowd-pleaser, a likable little film fulfilled by director Marc Webb, Chris Evans, and their talented young star, Mckenna Grace. If you want, you can think of it as the anti-blockbuster, the opposite of a big movie for the summer season. Instead, it’s an old-fashioned story about a single man (Evans) who is raising his 7-year old niece Mary, a child prodigy who doesn’t seem to cope with her environment. Her mathematical abilities threaten to separate her from her uncle when her grandmother show up one day and a custody battle ensues. There isn’t much more to the film, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It has a relaxed feeling, and is populated by good actors, notably the young McKenna Grace who is truly a revelation. Is the plot too predictable? You bet. On the other hand, everything about it is likable, and after several weeks of blockbuster entertainment, it’s not so bad to sit back and relax with a harmless, feel good movie like this. “Gifted” promises a heartwarming story and delivers.

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