What Is “Gifted” (2017 movie) really about?

On the surface, “Gifted” spins the tale of a child prodigy grappling with a custody battle, but that storyline is a mere canvas for a deeper exploration of the complexities of family and intelligence. At its core, “Gifted” is less about the marvels of a gifted mind and more about the tug-of-war between a normal childhood and the weight of exceptional potential.

Mary’s mathematical prowess is unquestionable; however, her gifts serve as a backdrop to challenge preconceptions about nurturing talent. The film toys with the audience’s expectation that brilliance must be fostered at all costs, instead positing, what if the true gift is allowing a child to forge their own path? The narrative subtly suggests the notion that personal happiness and choice might outweigh the pursuit of intellectual greatness.

Through the lens of Frank and Mary’s relationship, “Gifted” confronts the isolation that often accompanies extraordinary ability, advocating for a balance that is seldom struck in tales of prodigious talent. It embraces the idea that a life replete with connections and love can be as fulfilling as one filled with achievement and accolades—perhaps even more so.

The movie cleverly masks its philosophical inquiries behind the façade of a family drama, leaving viewers to ponder: Is it the intellect that defines us, or is it the human experiences that shape our lives? “Gifted” nudges its audience to consider that the true potential of a person lies in their humanity, not just their IQ score.

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