Before watching this movie, I thought it was going to be very predictable. I had also complained about the fact that it's not based on a true story. I thought that really hurt this film, because it comes across so cheesey from the trailer. HOWEVER, this film is far from predictable. There are certainly moments of cheese and predictability, but overall this film wrestles with what many parents go through (whether or not it's on this level). And that is, should my child be in a "gifted" or "advanced" program in school and most likely miss out on the relationships they could develop with their "average" classmates? It's strange to even write that because it sounds so American and haughty, but it's a reality for many parents whose kids are really "gifted" academically/sports/music/etc, which covers a majority of kids. But this film isn't just about being "gifted" it's about the complicated life of the characters surrounding the "gifted" child. That certainly elevates the intensity and purpose of this film in a way that quickly makes you realize why this isn't a true story. The themes and the characters are very overt, but it works, because the casting was very good. There are purposeless characters, but the actors/actresses are strong enough in their roles that it doesn't really matter. Overall, I really enjoyed this movie and it certainly resonates with me as a young parent who will have to make lots of decisions about where my kid(s) will attend school, what programs they'll be in, and how much I should push them. And, semi-spoiler alert, as an uncle this film had a very special meaning to me. It encouraged me and felt directed at me like few other films I've seen.
This one's for all the "my-kid-is-an-honor-role-student" parents...and grandparents
Reviewed By: Steven Siwek
DVD or Streaming >27in
McKenna Grace, remember the name. This girl is a rockstar in the making. Chris Evans guides her really well and offers a real-life feel to this story. The casting was really well done in this film. The 1st grade teacher, Jenny Slate, was perfect for this role. Some characters were "meaningless" to the story, but still played their role very well. And let me add, Chris Evans is probably my favorite superhero actor (Captain America), but it's movies like this that I hope guys like him don't pass up on because they're "too busy" making the $200M blockbusters.
Lots of deep struggles and real-life conversations to discuss. There is a scene where McKenna's character very authentically struggles with why her biological father never wanted to see her. It's so powerful to see Chris' solution to showing her what the day she was born was like. I loved that. The themes of "using your gift" vs "living life" were really interesting and felt unique (for a non-superhero movie).
Not super memorable. There were times where it seemed overdone from an emotional standpoint.
I was really pleased with this story. It certainly keeps moving through its different emotions. A couple of times it felt like the script forces itself to "do something" so that the audience isn't bored, but mostly this story really resonated with me.
Pretty standard. Essentially the DP's role here is to not get in the way of the storytelling element. Hard to complain here, but nothing unique either.
If you come into this movie with no preconceived notions, I really think you're going to like it. This film will surprise you regardless of your preconceived thoughts of it, which I think is the Kernel-Factor behind it. It surprised me throughout, and I really appreciated what it had to say (regardless of some of the plot holes or unrealistic moments).