Director: Marc Webb
Starring: Chris Evans,Mckenna Grace, Jenny Slate, Lindsay Duncan, Octavia Spencer
Frank, a single man raising his child prodigy niece Mary, is drawn into a custody battle with his mother. (Source: IMDb)
In a time of year which is otherwise dominated by big screen blockbusters and superhero movies there isn’t too much out there as an alternative, but fortunately this lovely little film is here to step into that gap.
It’s a very unassuming film despite it’s A-list cast, and you’d be forgiven if it had completely passed you by. Whilst it isn’t world-changing, it is encapsulates all you sometimes need out of a film, and that is to be heart-warming, funny and just plain delightful!
Films about a child maths prodigy can go either way; cute and charming or precocious and annoying, with much of this hinging on the young actor playing the aforementioned genius. Fortunately Mckenna Grace is absolutely wonderful, instantly likeable, unassuming and magnetic on screen. This is already up there with Dafne Keen, the scene-stealer in Logan, for the best child performance of the year so far.
Key to the believable family dynamic, Grace has a great onscreen relationship with Chris Evans’ Frank who proves he absolutely does have a career beyond playing a certain shield-wielding hero, and it is great to see him taking on little films like this one instead of just being the generic “action movie star”. The supporting cast is also wonderful, with the always dependable Octavia Spencer bringing some warmth and humour to what could’ve otherwise been a fairly forgettable role, and Jenny Slate providing a good, if somewhat plain, love interest.
It’s hard to critique a film like this because there wasn’t really anything not to like but because it doesn’t really present anything new, it ends up being good rather than great. You certainly won’t have a bad time watching it and you’ll be more than happy to revisit it when you want a reliable and easy watch, but it is also in places somewhat forgettable.
The romantic subplot I could’ve done without as it did take some focus away from the main story, regarding the custody battle over Mary, which was strong enough to stand on its own.
I saw this movie and you should too. If blockbusters aren’t your thing then this is definitely a film well worth checking out. It’s heart-warming, funny, surprisingly emotional in places, honest, and touching with some great performances. Not necessarily one to rush out and see on the big-screen but it is undoubtedly hard not to fall for this film!