The GiftJanuary 19, 2001
A woman with extrasensory perception is asked to help find a young woman who has disappeared.
Release Year: 2000
Rating: 6.7/10 (33,358 voted)
Critic's Score: 62/100
Stars: Cate Blanchett, Katie Holmes, Keanu Reeves
When Jessica King goes missing, all eyes turn to Annabelle Wilson. Not as a murder suspect, but as a clairvoyant. Many of the towns folk go to Annabelle for help, and Jessica's fiancée, Wayne Collins, turns to Annabelle for possible guidance. Annabelle feels that she can't help, but this doesn't stop her from constantly getting visions of Jessica's fate.
Writers: Billy Bob Thornton, Tom Epperson
Annabelle 'Annie' Wilson
Sheriff Pearl Johnson
It was the perfect crime… Except someone saw it all
Release Date: 19 January 2001
Filming Locations: Effingham County, Georgia, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $11,827
(25 December 2000)
Did You Know?
The cards Annie Wilson uses to perform her "readings" are actually Zener Cards, which are used to perform ESP tests. The cards are not known for their fortune-telling abilities, however, this is not necessarily a mistake. Fortune tellers can use a variety of cards from tarot decks to ordinary poker cards to give readings. All that truly matters is that the four elements of nature (fire, water, earth, and air) are represented in some form. Annie would still be able to deliver readings with them as long as she knew which symbols represented which element.
Annie is bleeding on the dock from her head, and in a close up the blood runs down her cheek into the corner of her mouth. In the shots following, however, all the traces of blood disappear from her cheek and mouth, and move to the side of her face.
Oh, thank you for the peaches.
Tommy Lee Ballard:
So how you been?
Tommy Lee Ballard:
Oh, pretty good, I reckon.
You had a health problem since I saw you last?
Tommy Lee Ballard:
Have you been sick.
Tommy Lee Ballard:
Back's been hurting a little.
No, no, it's not your back. You been bleeding somewhere?
Cate Blanchett Displays Her Own "Gifts"
In a small town deep in the South, a single mother endowed with a special
ability becomes involved with the disappearance of a young woman and has a
brush with the supernatural, in `The Gift,' directed by Sam Raimi. Cate
Blanchett stars as Annie Wilson, a young widow attempting to raise her
kids and provide a decent life for her family, scraping out a living on
Social Security since the tragic death of her husband in a work related
accident the previous year. She supplements her meager income by doing
`readings' for the local townsfolk, accepting their donations for the
insights she offers them into their own lives. Annie has a `gift,' the
ability to see certain things in the cards that enables her to advise her
clients about personal issues. It's something she can't explain; she knows
only that it's inherited (which she learned from her grandmother), and that
it's real. And though it's helped her maintain her home, she soon finds
that it doesn't always make for the most pleasant of situations, as when
must advise a young woman, Valerie Barksdale (Hilary Swank), on how to cope
with her abusive husband, Donnie (Keanu Reeves), or attempt to help a
troubled young man, Buddy Cole (Giovanni Ribisi) come to terms with some
sensitive aspects of his life. Then, when a client comes to her to ask for
help when his daughter disappears, not only does it take her to the dark
side of the human experience, she discovers that certain individuals,
including local sheriff Pearl Johnson (J.K. Simmons) do not believe that
`gift' is real.
Stylistically crafted and delivered, Raimi's film will keep you engrossed
and on the edge of your seat until the very end. He successfully blends
reality with just a touch of the supernatural that makes for riveting
suspense while keeping it within the realm of believability. The
relationship played out between Donnie and Valerie is anything but unique–
you've seen this before, many times in many films– but within the context
of this story it's fresh and it works. The doubtful sheriff and the
cynical, jaded defense attorney, Gerald Weems (Michael Jeter), are fairly
stereotypical, but that can be easily overlooked in light of the overall
story and especially due to the credibility of the Annie character, which
well developed and never presented as anything beyond what can be readily
accepted as true to life. As the central character, Annie anchors the film
and enables the circumstances in which she is involved to be perceived as
real; it's the strength of the film, and it's what makes it all work so
What also makes it work is the strong performance by Cate Blanchett, who
makes Annie so real and accessible, displaying her `gift' with restraint
avoiding the possible pitfall of taking it too far over the edge, which
could easily have made it suspect. Instead, she brings a depth to the
character that draws you into her world and allows you to empathize with
her, which would have been impossible had she invested Annie with even a
touch of the charlatan. With consummate skill, Blanchett creates a well
rounded character which demonstrates that as an actor, she definitely has a
very real `gift' of her own.
Ribisi also does a memorable turn as Buddy, with a striking performance in
which he creates some disturbing moments that are almost painful to watch;
his is a character study of a soul in distress, seeking solace and
resolution, and even as he attempts to sort out his life, you are able to
sympathize with his plight as you share Buddy's experiences. And it's
through Buddy (as well as Annie, of course), that the audience is able to
make that necessary and very real connection with the film. With films
`Saving Private Ryan' and now this one, Ribisi is on his way to
himself as one of the premiere character actors in the business
Playing somewhat against type, Reeves proves that he can be a good `bad'
guy, giving possibly one of his best performances ever as Donnie. He very
credibly conveys that sense of explosiveness lying just beneath the surface
that makes his character menacing and dark, which in turn makes Donnie
psychologically as well as physically threatening. It's a good job by
Reeves, who deserves credit for taking on a role that is so disagreeable
The supporting cast includes Greg Kinnear (Wayne), Katie Holmes (Jessica),
Kim Dickens (Linda), Gary Cole (David) and Rosemary Harris (Annie's
A taut thriller that is emotionally involving, `The Gift' delivers what it
promises early on, which is exceptional, as many films of this nature often
fail to actually follow through after a tremendous opening act. Rest
assured, this one does and has it all; suspense, credibility and some
memorable moments, all courtesy of Raimi, a good story and a superb cast.
And that's the magic of the movies. I rate this one 9/10.