Film Review: THE GIFT

Written and Directed by Joel Edgerton
Starring: Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall

Leaving some tragedies behind them, a young couple (Bateman and Hall) move back to Simon’s hometown and take possession of a new house and a new job. Almost at once, the couple runs into Gordon, Simon’s high school friend. Thus begins a series of surprise visits, gifts and interventions that leave the couple uneasy. Simon recalls he was called “Gordo, the Weirdo” in high school and the name seems to fit. Whether Gordon is truly weird or it is Simon who wants to peg his as that unfolds in the next two hours. And at the center is the talented Rebecca Hall, giving a terrific performance as the woman in jeopardy.

This was a movie that I had little knowledge of it before it turned up to widely great reviews. The trailers made it seem like a knock-off of other films. But instead it had a story and a look all of its own. Bateman is one of those actors who plays versions of himself so very well. We can believe almost anything about him. And Edgerton, in his first directorial role, makes a lithe, succinct, suspenseful and lucid film. Yes, you will have questions at the end. But ambiguity is essential to a movie like this.

Patti Abbott
In addition to being the Crimespree Senior Film Critic, Patti has penned numerous short stories and her debut novel, CONCRETE ANGEL, is in stores now. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.