art imitating life imitating art

Gifted’s Most Bittersweet Chris Evans–Jenny Slate Moments

The way we were … Photo: Fox Searchlight

Honestly, thank you Marc Webb for giving us Gifted, the syrupy-sweet family drama that brought together Hollywood’s most lovingly mismatched couple (and, eventually, Hollywood’s most lovingly mismatched pair of friendly exes). Chris Evans plays a down-and-out uncle battling his prickly mother for custody of his genius niece, while Jenny Slate plays the girl’s teacher; their scenes together are a welcome respite from the litany of by-the-numbers courtroom scenes. This movie made it possible for me to politely describe someone as being like “primary colors,” and that’s worth the price of admission alone.

Slate turns out to only be the movie’s third-string female lead (following the very cute Mckenna Grace and the very severe Lindsay Duncan), but there are still a collection of moments that are sure to make you mourn her short-lived romance with Captain America. Here they are, from least to most bittersweet.

Jenny Slate and Chris Evans chill at a dive bar
Twice in Gifted do we see Jenny Slate and Chris Evans bonding over cheap drinks at their local Florida watering hole. The first time they hang out, Frank explains the story behind his genius sister’s (Mary’s genius mother) suicide. The next time, they down tequila shots and have a chill heart-to-heart that turns flirty. This one isn’t really bittersweet because Slate and Evans are chill exes now, meaning that there may be a chance for more IRL dive-bar hangouts in their future.

Jenny Slate decides that sleeping with Chris Evans might be fun after all
Moments after Slate shuts down the budding romantic tension between her and Evans at the bar — surprise — they barge into his bedroom drunkenly making out! When they hit the bed, she says some words about how she can’t possibly sleep with her favorite student’s hot uncle. It’d be too weird and unprofessional. Evans promises her that he gets it, but just as he stands up to grab his keys, she changes her mind and yanks him back down next to her. The classically cutesy hijinx feel very fresh for exactly one second — until you realize that the pair will be sharing no more classically cutesy hijinx. However, there’s not enough time to really wallow in the sadness, because we’re soon onto another classic rom-com beat: The little girl catches Slate wrapped up in the sheets!

Chris Evans drops off Mary at school, dutifully nodding at Jenny Slate
When Gifted’s focus shifts entirely to the custody case, the Slate-Evans romance falls by the wayside. Slate gets a scene or two of being the Girl — she reminds Frank how much he loves his niece, and listens earnestly as he gets very sad about maybe not being able to raise her — but even after the niece leaves the Florida public school where Slate teaches, their romance fizzles out anyway. In the last scene, everyone’s life has settled into a comfortable routine: The niece balances college classes and first-grade recess. Evans picks her up from undergraduate physics and drops her off at grade school, catching Slate’s eye before he drives off. They exchange solemn nods, reflecting on the transience of lost love. Huh. How’s that for art imitating life imitating art?

The Bittersweet Chris Evans-Jenny Slate Moments in Gifted