I recently saw the movie Gifted which I chose after careful consideration. I wanted to see a reflective film that I would remember and later ponder. I was not disappointed. It was about a six and half-year old mathematical genius named Mary (McKenna Grace).
When the movie opens, she is attending school for the first time after being home-schooled by her Uncle Frank (Chris Evans). He is raising her after her mathematical whiz mom took her own life. She left Mary in her brother’s care and he wants to make sure that Mary doesn’t follow down the same unbalanced path.
In spite of her exceptional math talents, he wants her to have good social skills and live as normal a life as possible. When, she starts going to a public school, problems ensue because she is lacking in the people department. She provokes the principal, breaks an older bully’s nose while protecting a class mate and generally causes an uproar in her second grade class.
In the midst of the upheaval, her estranged but wealthy grandmother steps in and wants custody of Mary. She has never shown an interest in her before, but she has her own private agenda. She wants Mary to help her solve a mathematical equation that would give her a long-desired fame. She also went to school to be a mathematician, but had to put her career on hold to raise her family.
The movie takes a lot of twists and turns as the court battle plays out between the uncle and the hard-hearted grandmother (Lindsey Duncan). Roberta (Octavia Spencer), his landlord, is supportive and acts as a surrogate to young Mary on a daily basis.
This sensitive movie shows the uncle fighting for Mary’s chance to have as normal a life as possible. He is haunted by his sister’s suicide and remembers her lack of personal happiness. He wants to make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to his niece even if she does eventually attend a gifted school.
For a while, he plays along with the court’s rulings and lets Mary live with a foster family. But he finds out that all is not well and that the grandmother is still privately working her plan to exploit Mary’s gift.
He finally reveals a long withheld bargaining chip and plays it like a winning chess piece. It makes the affluent grandmother back down and give him full custody of Mary. See Gifted and discover what illusive olive branch he extends to save Mary’s life!
Lynn M. May 20, 2017
“Character is who and what you are in your essence, after much that is transient and superficial is stripped away. It includes your inner and outer life but is best revealed in the many things you do -especially those little things that you do without much thinking.” (The Healing Power of Stories by Daniel Taylor)
When I think of character, I think of Shakespeare’s plays where he lets his characters reveal themselves through their private thoughts and outward actions. They inevitably show themselves and do as Taylor says, act without thinking. It shows what is truly in their hearts.
When we, as writers, create characters we show them making decisions which may sometimes be quick or even rash in nature. From their actions we may deem what type of persons we are dealing with in a variety of situations and under different circumstances.
We ask ourselves a host of questions about a character. Are they honest? Are they sincere? Or are they deceitful or underhanded? Are they trustworthy? Do they make sound decisions? Or do they flip-flop and appear to be wishy-washy? Is this person a gossip that carries tales? Or does this character protect others’ private information like sacred scrolls? Would we feel safe in this character’s company? Is this a person that we would trust in life-threatening scenarios?
I am currently reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and war has just broken out in France in 1940. Young Isabella has to quickly decide if she can trust a young convict named Gaetan whom she met on the road. All of the people are walking and in motion and she has to be a quick judge of character to see if this is a man she can trust. He subtlety reminds her that if he wanted to do her harm, he had every opportunity to do so. He offers her food and shows that he is concerned about her safety and she decides to trust him during this time of great peril.
Characters mirror real life and the decisions that they make speak volumes. There is an old saying that says, “Who you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you are saying.” More simply put, “Actions do speak louder than words.”
Do you agree?
Lynn M. May 13, 2017
The true thought behind something makes it either a blessing or a weight like an albatross around the neck. This thought came to mind the other day when I lost or misplaced an expensive estate ring. I bought it at Macy’s but the saleswoman told me that it was considered to be an estate ring upon purchase a few years back.
After losing it, I had to work through the process of letting it go. I wondered whether the original owner would even want me to wear it. Perhaps I was sporting something that was not indicative of well-wishes.
However, I enjoyed its beauty for a few years; but in all honesty, it had been slipping off my finger quite frequently in the past few weeks. Like anything else, it was subtly saying that it was time to let it go.
With a little more wisdom, I could quietly release it and ponder the spiritual lesson being taught in this situation. I thought about the whole notion of gift giving and realized that if something is given to us in a begrudged fashion or in a sense of indebtedness, it probably will not fare well for long. Eventually, it may become a source of remorse.
Yet, a child can give us something as simple as a picture of a flower on a post-it note and that picture can light up the home like a candle. That is because it was given from the heart and in a spirit of love. The thought behind a gift can make all the difference in bringing on tears of sorrow or smiles of joy!
Lynn M. May 6, 2017