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The Gift

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Gift

Starring: Cate Blanchett, Greg Kinnear
Director: Sam Raimi
Rated: R
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Suspense, Thriller

*Also starring: Gary Cole, Stuart Greer, Katie Holmes, Giovanni Ribisi, Hilary Swank, Michael Jeter, Danny Elfman

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson, this gothic Southern mystery revolves around a single, widowed mom (Cate Blanchett) in Brixton, Georgia, who "reads" cards, using her genetically-inherited psychic insight to help her emotionally needy friends and neighbors. Primary among these is a severely disturbed garage mechanic (Giovanni Ribisi) who is tormented by childhood memories of sexual abuse by his father and a desperate, battered wife (Hilary Swank) whose face and body bear the marks of her husband's unbridled temper. "You've got to get legal help," Cate counsels her. But when Hilary's philandering husband (Keanu Reeves) calls Cate a "Satan worshipper" and begins to terrorize her family, it's her teenage son (Lynnsee Provence) whose emotional scars over the death of his father burst open, causing behavior problems at school. That's where Cate meets the principal (Greg Kinnear) and his sexy, socialite fiance (Katie Holmes) who is curious about Cate's psychic gift. "I'm not a fortune-teller," Cate protests. But when the spiteful, duplicitous Katie mysteriously disappears, it's Cate's telepathic "visions" that help the skeptical police track down the culprit. Intuitive director Sam Raimi ("The Evil Dead," "Darkman"), a master of spine-tingling, supernatural horror, uses surreal imagery and disconcerting camerawork to augment the psychological terror. Cate Blanchett delivers a subtle, nuanced performance, where guilt about not being able to "forecast" her own husband's death lurks below the surface. Keanu Reeves takes a real chance as a cruel, redneck type and pulls it off creditably. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Gift" is a chilling, haunting 7. "I see things and I sense things," says Cate. Problem is: I sensed whodunit far too soon.

Copyright 2001 Susan Granger

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