Free Movie Night
Popcorn and drinks provided
January 21 at 6;30
Bring the entire family for a great film!
“3+3? Really?” asks seven-year-old Mary (McKenna Grace) during her first day at school. The unbearably cute, gap-toothed daughter of a deceased math genius, she is the “gifted” subject of Marc Webb’s touching family melodrama. Our whiz-kid lives with her uncle Frank (Chris Evans), a boat mechanic described, rather accurately, by one of the film’s characters as the Tampa suburb’s resident “quiet, damaged hot guy”. Her only friends are their adult neighbour Roberta (Octavia Spencer) and a one-eyed ginger cat named Fred and so Frank decides to enroll her in school so that she can learn to get along with kids her own age. But, as his estranged mother, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan, playing her steely and British) insists: “She’s not normal and treating her as such is negligence on a grand scale.”
Frank talks to the precocious Mary like she’s an adult – and she talks back like one. In one scene, she asks him to tell her the truth about whether there’s a God. Backlit by a vibrant orange sunset, Webb captures her in silhouette as she climbs her uncle like a small monkey, legs dangling from his shoulders and elbows resting on his head. If it sounds corny, it is. The film’s melodramatic beats are predictable but are hit with absolute precision (try not to cry when Frank and Mary are temporarily separated). There’s enough believable chemistry between Evans and Grace for it all to work.
The film’s heartfelt advocacy for an unconventional family model is easy to love, as are the underused supporting cast, led by comedian Jenny Slate as a well-meaning schoolteacher and Octavia Spencer’s surrogate mother figure.