Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Movie Review ~ The Gift

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The GiftThe Gift, rated R
*** ½

This psychological thriller stars Jason Bateman as Simon and Rebecca Hall as his wife Robyn. They have just relocated from Chicago to Simon’s hometown in Southern California where Simon has accepted a promising new job with a security systems firm. They purchased a new home with a beautiful view as they hope to leave the sadness of Robyn’s miscarriage behind in Chicago and get a fresh new start. Robyn struggled with addiction to prescription medicine after the miscarriage and is fragile emotionally.

As the couple is shopping for their new home they run into Gordon, or ‘Gordo’, played by Joel Edgerton (The Great Gatsby), who also wrote and directed the film. Gordo and Simon went to high school together, but Simon doesn’t appear to remember him in an awkward scene. Gordo overhears the couple’s address in the store and shows up at their home uninvited when Simon is at work. Each time he shows up at their home he leaves a wrapped gift at the front door. Robyn is kind to him and invites him to have dinner with them. Gordo seems socially uncomfortable but returns the favor, inviting them to a dinner party at his home.

Jason becomes increasingly irritable around Gordo, and tells Robyn that they used to call Gordo “Weirdo” (the original working title of the film), in high school. He decides to set boundaries with Gordo, telling him he doesn’t want him to stop by their home any longer. That changes the relationship between Gordon and Simon.

But Robyn, still struggling with the effects of the miscarriage and the addiction to prescription medicine is afraid to be in the home by herself during the day. Her only friend is neighbor Lucy (Allison Tolman). Alone by herself during the day Robyn hears noises. Is someone in the house? Cinematographer Eduard Grau effectively gives us Robyn’s view of the hallways of the empty home as we sit on the edge of our seat waiting to see if someone is indeed in the house. And now their dog Bojangles (named after the song “Mr. Bojangles”), goes missing. What is going on?

As time goes on, Robyn suspects that Simon and Gordo have more of a history than Simon is telling her. What she finds out drives her further away from Simon. What else isn’t he telling her? Does she even really know him? And there seems to be little Simon won’t do to advance his career at his new firm.

The film is rated “R” for a significant amount of adult language, including the misuse/abuse of God’s and Jesus’ names several times. It features themes of fear, bullying and revenge. The Bible passage Psalm 7:14-15 plays a role in the film. Edgerton, Bateman and Hall are all excellent in their roles. Edgerton’s writing is sharp, and it’s hard to believe this is his first major film as a director.

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Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence ~ married to my best friend for more than 37 years, a St. Louis Cardinals fan, a manager at a Fortune 50 company, a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, and in leadership at my local church. I enjoy speaking about calling, vocation and work. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop to their fullest potential and to utilize their strengths more fully. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinders themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony and Achiever, and my two StandOut strengths roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book and Colossians 3:23 my favorite verse. Some of my other favorite books are Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper, The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul, The Prodigal Son (originally titled A Tale of Two Sons) by John MacArthur and Crazy Love by Francis Chan. I enjoy Christian hip-hop/rap music, with Lecrae, Trip Lee and Andy Mineo being some of favorite artists.

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