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Gifted


Mckenna Grace and Chris Evans star in a scene from the movie "Gifted." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. (CNS photo/Fox)

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NEW YORK (CNS) -- Endearing and well-acted, director Marc Webb's drama "Gifted" (Fox Searchlight) might have been a family-friendly movie.

Elements in screenwriter Tom Flynn's script, however, make this thoughtful film -- which examines the proper balance between cultivating youthful talent and the need for even extraordinary kids to lead a normal life -- exclusively suitable for grown-ups and perhaps older teens.

Facing the issue outlined above is easygoing Florida boat mechanic Frank Adler (Chris Evans). Informally entrusted with the care of his then-infant niece, Mary (McKenna Grace), at the time of her mother's suicide, Frank has had to adjust his bachelor lifestyle for the sake of stand-in fatherhood (Mary's real dad has shown no interest in her.)

Frank has also had to come to grips with the fact that Mary, like her mom before her, is a math prodigy.

Believing, as the audience eventually learns, that his sister's death was at least partially caused by the demands their hard-driving mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan), made on her to concentrate only on her studies, at the cost of both friendships and romance, Frank wants something different for Mary. So, after homeschooling her to the age of 7, he enrolls her in the local public school.

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