The Gift dir. by

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn(Rebecca Hall) have just moved and are out shopping when they bump into Gordo(Joel Edgerton), an old friend of Simon’s. He visits their new home, bringing a gift, and starts to become part of their life. More from him inserting himself than them asking him. Simon doesn’t really like him. Robyn is more open to the friendship, but, Simon insists that they cut him off.

But all the time there have been insinuations that something happened between the two in their past, when they were at school. Simon won’t give any details, but Robyn is increasingly bothered and goes investigating. What she learns1 will change her life forever.

The first half of this film is superb. Tense, atmospheric, and, although low-key, so full of threat and hidden danger. I loved the way the relationship between Simon and Robyn was explored. At first they seem like a happily married couple, successful, and trying to start a family. Then we begin to see some cracks, they have a history that isn’t as clear and simple as they would like to show. All relationships are different on the inside than the outside, but some are very different from what even those people on the inside believe them to be.

Simon, at first such a “good guy” is slowly revealed to be an utter shit. It starts out with little things, him always getting his way with Robyn. His “concern” for her that begins to isolate her form other people. His constant dismissal of her worries and fears as irrational and stupid. Gaslighting anyone?

So a great film up until the final third. And to talk about it I have to reveal certain details, so you know, spoiler warning.

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2 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I’m so glad you reviewed this movie because I hadn’t even heard of it! I love love love Jason Bateman (though not all of his movies… have you seen Bad Words? The movie was mediocre but he was great). He’s like Steve Carell, deft at both comedy and drama. I’m looking forward to seeing this one.

    • Fence says:

      It didn’t get any press coverage that I saw over here, and I didn’t see a trailer either. Came across it somewhere and it sounded interesting but didn’t think it’d come to me local cinema. And then it did, so I figured let’s give it a go.
      Glad I did.

      This is certainly more drama than comedy.