I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t read movie reviews.
Or book reviews for that matter.
I also try not to watch previews or read intros. I don’t even read the back of the book before I read it.
There is so little is left to the imagination these days. I don’t want to know anything beforehand; I want to be surprised. I want to form my own opinions.
A few months ago, the trailer for the movie Gifted was circulating and causing quite the stir within the gifted community. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about so I broke my rule and watched the trailer.
I didn’t like it either.
I was concerned that the film would perpetuate all of those gifted myths that advocates work so hard to squelch.
When FOX Searchlight approached me and asked if I would like to screen the movie, I hesitated. But curiosity got the better of me.
I’m glad I caved.
Gifted, the Movie: Bring Tissues
My husband and I watched Gifted on Saturday night. This introvert is still mulling it over slowly. There is a lot to think about with this one. Gifted is the type of movie that you finish and then immediately want to watch again so that you can process it fully.
I’m going to let you in on another secret: I also don’t like writing movie reviews.
Today, I’m going to share some thoughts on the film – without spoilers– because I know many of my readers will enjoy this movie.
Here are some of my [spoiler-free] thoughts:
- First things first: 7-year-old Mary is a math prodigy (think Good Will Hunting). As co-founder of a large online gifted community, one of the top questions we receive is about belonging (My child isn’t “that” gifted. Do we fit here?). We always joke about how if you’ve seen one gifted kid, you’ve seen one gifted kid. Giftedness comes in many flavors and the prodigious math whiz is rare. Even among the profoundly gifted population, you won’t find 7-year-olds sitting in a 1st-grade classroom doing advanced calculus … but this is Hollywood. What I’m trying to say is this: Mary “‘looks” nothing like my PG/2e kiddo, and yet…
- Despite the fact that the main character is a prodigy, Gifted will feel familiar to parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. There will be scenes, shared glances, and lines that will take your breath away (including Captain America’s response to the question “What’s your greatest fear?” and when Mary says, “You wanted me before I was smart”).
- You will need tissues.
- Without giving anything away, the movie will touch on all the heavy-hitters that gifted families struggle with daily: gifted family dynamics, gifted identity, underachievement/imposter syndrome, mental health, school fit, homeschooling, intellectual peers, fighting injustice, asynchronous development, existentialism in gifted children, strong-willed children, passion, “socialization”, differentiation of instruction, struggle to find a peer group, mentors, balance, the importance of play, empathy in gifted youth, and so much more.
- I appreciated the teacher in this film (minus the plot twist that launched the film from PG to PG-13- although that twist did involve one of the film’s funniest lines). She recognized Mary’s giftedness early and was one of her biggest cheerleaders.
- Fred the one-eyed cat was my favorite character and I’m allergic to cats. He’s that good.
- If you are on the gifted journey, you’ll find yourself wishing for more backstory. You’ll want to know more about Mary’s grandmother, mother, and uncle and their respective gifted journeys.
- The ending will have you crying… and also maybe wishing it were that easy. But Hollywood likes those tidy endings.
Gifted isn’t perfect, but it’s refreshing and familiar and honest and I thoroughly enjoyed watching it. The movie felt genuine. I hope that Gifted will bring an understanding of giftedness to a larger audience, and I am interested to see how the film is received by the general public.
If you have a local gifted community, this would be a wonderful parents’ night out and discussion. (It would be great to pair this movie with the documentary Rise: The Extraordinary Journey of the Exceptional and Profoundly Gifted.)
Gifted is now playing in select theaters and will open everywhere on April 12th. You can read more about the movie and find local showtimes here.
Wondering if your child is gifted/2e?
Are you parenting a gifted or twice-exceptional child?
You aren’t alone. Here are some related articles:
- Parenting Gifted? Bookmark These Helpful Resources
- Asynchronous Development and the Gifted Child
- Giftedness: To Test or Not to Test
- When it Feels Like Worry is Winning
- Academic Acceleration and Gifted Children
- Resources for Sensory Processing Disorder