Frank Adler (Chris Evans) lives a quiet life with his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) and her one-eyed cat Fred in a coastal town of Pinellas County, Florida. There landlord and dear friend Roberta Taylor (Octavia Spencer) is a huge admirer of seven year old Mary and is concerned about the fact that Uncle Frank is sending her off to a regular school rather than keeping her home schooled as before. Frank has decided it was time for Mary to spend time with kids her own age and to begin enjoying what life has to offer her outside of her home walls.
On her first day in class Mary did not take too well to the other students let alone her teacher mainly because 3 plus 3 and 4 plus 4 were well below her expectations and knowledge. It did not take long for her teacher and later potential love interest for Frank, Bonnie (Jenny Slate), to pick up on the fact that Mary was a mathematical child prodigy. After speaking with Frank, Bonnie later addressed it to her Principal which later brought it to the attention of Mary’s wealthy grandmother from Boston, Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan). Soon the courts with Judge Edward Nichols (John M. Jackson) got involved, the reality of Mary’s mothers death is revealed along with the fact that she too was a prodigy that may possibly had made history and the relationship of seven years between Frank and Mary may come to a sudden end along with the life of one-eyed Fred. Truth comes out in many ways and Mary knew that Frank wanted her before he even knew she was smart and sometimes the real truth is embedded within the answers that other people give to your questions.
The film is pure and somewhat simple with a slight religious undertone dealing with faith and belief in right from wrong. Truly a story well written and directed that an entire family could enjoy and probably learn a thing or two from based on some of the conversations between several of the characters. The songs in the film all had a good message and the meaning of the story itself has many things to teach you about life, love and family. The question even surfaces between Frank and Mary on if there is truly a God while beautifully filmed to a sunset backdrop. I can’t really say anything bad about the film other than it doesn’t have many peaks and valleys but rather a steady ride from start to finish. There are a few surprises about life and I especially appreciated Fred the cat which had a starring role throughout the story. Overall a recommended film if you want a well done story about family and a good welcome away from the other box office CGI movies on the big screen right now.
Evans really does justice to his character with his good looks and big smile. Grant it several times I kept waiting for him to flash his Captain America shield but thankfully it did not happen and he was able to show a softer side of his acting abilities. Slate is endearing and although not a super-model, thank God, she really draws you in with her smile and sweet personality. Spencer, well enough said about her, I love her and am a fan but must say I wish she had a little more screen time. Duncan who I am not too familiar with was superb and even though some of her lines were hard to hear she still had a sense of power on the screen. Yet throughout all of the supporting characters, extras and leads aside, it is Grace that really makes this film worth your time, tears, laughter and just pure enjoyment to watch. I must say it was kind of cool when they mentioned my good ole city of Tampa Bay as well. Florida home of the Palmetto bug sometimes big enough to carry your shoes away with you in them!