Frank has had custody of his 7-year-old niece Mary (McKenna Grace) ever since Mary's mother committed suicide when the girl was an infant.
Although neither Frank nor Mary wants this disruption to their comfortably shaggy lives, the situation is complicated by the fact that specialists, including Mary's teacher, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), also believe that the child could benefit from education better tailored to her talents. Fox Searchlight will release the film on April 7th. "You care so much about Roberta and worry whether she will be able to continue to have the relationship with Mary".
The 35 year-old-actor spoke to PEOPLE and said, "She's the best".
It's not every first-grader, after all, who spends her free time tackling differential calculus and shames her classmates with the sort of mental prowess that might give Matilda Wormwood a run for her money. Having moved from Boston to Florida after the death of Mary's mother, Diane, Frank finally enrolls Mary into a regular elementary school after having been home-schooled. Having prepped her daughter for a life of conquering mathematics, Evelyn intends to gain custody of Mary and do the same with her.
Gifted marks a return to small-scale dramas for director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man), whose debut feature, 500 Days of Summer, was a smart and sophisticated examination of young romance.
"That love makes a family, and families come in all shapes, sizes and colors", she said. "We're hoping this will encourage girls to get into math more and know that this is kind of a cool thing and that you can still be everything that Mary is and be into math and be into science and be into things that maybe they're not encouraged to do". Webb is careful not to risk boring his audience with anything that might smack of homework. She's always giving him the business, but she's also deeply emotional. Mary's astonishing gifts are reduced to so much elegant scribbling on a blackboard, accompanied by the kind of whirring-gears music that might have been lifted from "A Beautiful Mind". Few movies can be bothered to embody, or even explain, the superhuman thought processes and complex analytical reasoning at work here (though it would be nice if more of them tried).
But this brings us to the problem with "Gifted". It never becomes clear why Frank quits his job as a professor to fix boats and, while he offers love to Mary, his lifestyle is wildly different than what Evelyn is willing to offer, but for the longest time it doesn't seem like Frank is willing to change until he is forced to do so.
Evans said that the heightened scrutiny people in the public eye experience causes them to be more cautious about what they say.
What to do when your child is a genius? No one is likely to disagree with the basic correctness of the movie's conclusions, though you may well object to the process by which it arrives at them.