Friday, 30 June 2017


Sometimes a movie comes along just at the right moment. I wasn't having a great week to be honest, and reluctantly dragged myself off to the cinema for a bit of escapism with my friend John. We had arranged it the week before, otherwise I probably would not have bothered.

As I said, sometimes a movie comes along at just the right moment, to lift your spirits and make the world seem alright, and it did just that.

The film in question is called Gifted, directed by Marc Preston Webb.

(Click on the picture above to watch the trailer)

The story centers around a spirited six year old child prodigy, Mary, played by an excellent young actress called McKenna Grace. Her mother, a mathematics genius, has passed recently, and she is now looked after by her uncle Frank, played by Chris Evans, in Florida. His plans for Mary are for her to have a normal life, not to be sucked into the abnormal life of a mathematics genius. But his mother, played by Lindsay Duncan, has other plans. She herself is a mathematics genius, and threatens to separate Frank and Mary so the child can "realise her potential".

I hadn't expected much to be honest. Judging from the trailer it looked like a fairly humdrum, paint by numbers story, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Very well written, and a story arc that fooled me most of the way. There were moments when it could have easily followed a "seen it a hundred times" scenario, but instead surprised me with original takes. It has to be said that the girl takes centre stage quite brilliantly. In real life she was nine when it was filmed, and I was comparing her talent on screen to some of the nine year-olds in the academy I teach at, which helped me appreciate just how good she was. Such an early start in her career, it will be interesting to see how far she goes.

Which brings me rather neatly to another gifted actress, that of Eva Marie Saint. Who, I bet some of you are asking. She was the female lead opposite Cary Grant in one of my favourite films, North by Northwest, by Alfred Hitchcock. It was made in 1959, and despite the dodgy cardboard sets it stands the test of time in story telling on film.

Eva Marie Saint, one could safely say, has had a long career . . . and counting. Born in 1924, she was 35 by the time she made North by Northwest, playing the 25 year-old character Eve Kendall. Remarkably, now age 93, she is still making movies and TV series. That's quite a career.

I wonder of McKenna Grace will still be making movies in 80 years time!

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