This movie called, "gifted" (notice there's no capital letter... That's another awesome thing about it...) had me from hello. And I have not stopped thinking about it since. It's not like me to rave about movies. And I didn't even want to like this one. So many people try to cash in on the "genius" thing- there are television shows and articles in the news about prodigies all the time. The more weird they are, the more interesting they are to the masses. But I work hard for the kids who are way less obviously brilliant. The ones who aren't even always achievers at all- the ones who may be behavioral problems or failing. And the ones who are so unsure about where they fit in, that they just don't even try.
So liking a movie that had a trailer about a math prodigy did not seem to fit my style. But then I read a couple reviews from my fellow gifted education and psychology gurus. They said it wouldn't be like the trailer implied. That, yes, there were some stereotype things, like the pushy grandma and the math prodigy issue. But the rest of it would make up for it. So I went to that theater when the public relations lady offered our gifted association board free tickets (and then when we asked, our members too.) And I sat in that rocking theater seat with so many feelings in my head- I wanted to love it, but I didn't want to expect too much. I wanted my 11 year old daughter to love it too, but didn't want to confuse her about her own giftedness if it wasn't on-point.
And then the movie started and I fell in love with the three main characters. And even more accurately, I fell in love with Fred, the cat who stole the show.
It isn't every day that a movie not only hits the nail on the head about gifted characteristics and needs, but this one focused a lot on something that has defined our gifted household for many years- our love and interactions with our pets. You see, being gifted makes it hard sometimes to find close friendships with other people. There are some amazing friendships out there, but even those let you down. So in the end, if you love a cat or a dog, or maybe even a guinea pig, you hold that special friendship up even higher than some of the relationships you have with other humans. And in this movie, Fred was more than a cat- he was their best friend. Barely a scene went by without Fred being featured in it. And as a fellow cat lover, who doesn't go anywhere without whining about missing my kitty, Katniss... Or even taking her along with me on the boat or wherever I manage to haul her to, I understood that relationship so much. I loved that cat right alongside those characters. That was so much more real to me than just about anything that's ever been written about gifted people so far. I loved every bit of those parts of the movie.
I am excited to return to the theater to see it again, and to have my husband come this time too. And to encourage all my friends to see it. You will love it. You will love the kid... (you will love the cat...!) And I think you will understand some of the nuances of what it's like to raise a child who has amazing potential, and yet so many intensities and emotional struggles, and to feel responsible for them to not get too messed up while they are in our care.
Up until now, my favorite movies about gifted kids were The Incredibles, and Matilda. So it's not too much of a stretch for me to forgive this writer for making the main character do math really, really well (better than most gifted kids could ever do...) because I forgave those other ones for pure magic. This kid's arms don't stretch, she can't run with superhuman speed or disappear or turn into a fireball. She can't even move things with her mind. But she does math. And other than that, she does giftedness really well. She is just a kid with a different way of experiencing the world. And the family members are too.
You will end up loving them all. I really think you will. Especially if you are someone who has been reading my blog and putting up with me and my crazy life all this time. So go soon, bring everyone you know, and see it often so it can get the ratings it deserves. And when you go, please wave to my buddy Fred. You'll know what I mean about him making this movie even more special than it would've been without him in it.
Happy movie watching!