Be nice to people, or you may receive Joel Edgerton’s unwanted ‘Gift’

The Gift starring Joel Edgerton, Jason Bateman & Rebecca Hall was quite a mystery to me.  I had seen the posters, but knew nothing about it.  Sometimes, that’s the best way to go into movies like this.  The Gift is a solid reminder to not judge a movie by it’s trailer.  If you were turned off by the trailer, rest assured, this stalker thriller is worth a watch.  At the very least, you can add it to your “What To Watch Before Fantastic Four” list.

The Gift follows Simon (Jason Bateman, Arrested Development) & Robyn (Rebecca Hall, The Prestige) after a recent move back to Jason Bateman’s old stomping grounds for a fresh start.  With a new job and beautiful home, the couple settles in and prepares to start a new family.  Isn’t life grand? After a chance meeting with old school mate Gordon (Joel Edgerton, Exodus: Gods & Kings) things begin to change.  Gordon begins to show up at their home unannounced with house warming gifts, while Simon is away at work.  At first, it’s unusual but not threatening, but soon, the gifts turn into vague threats and the couple becomes unnerved.  It is here that the true “joy” of The Gift is discovered, but I won’t spoil that here.

This is not a “big film.”  You’re not going to leave the theater having seen car chases, gun battles and fast editing.  Instead, The Gift is a slow character-driven thriller that builds it’s tension so effortlessly, before you know it, you’re white knuckling it through to the heart-wrenching end.  In this Joel Edgerton written and directed tale of cause-and-effect, we are reminded that our words do real world damage and we’d be wise to choose them well.  There’s gotta be a biblical lesson in there.

The acting in this film is phenomenal.  Jason Bateman is at his best showing true dramatic chops that I, a long time Bateman fan, have not seen in recent memory.  Likewise, Rebecca Hall stood her ground as the vulnerable, kind but strong, wife.  The greatest strength of these two is their believability as a normal married couple.  They are not perfect, they are likeable and feel very real.  Their normality is in direct opposition to the socially awkward, slightly off nature of Edgerton’s character Gordon. Edgerton’s subdued performance walks the fine line between likable and creepy, much like Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler last year, though maybe not quite as good.  Even the supporting cast deserves a tip of the hat for filling in the gaps and making our couple and their struggle seem more real.

I truly enjoyed The Gift.  It is a very tense, well-acted thriller with some very interesting themes that may just cause you to reflect on your life in some unexpected ways.

Content Warning (minor spoilers):

Their is plenty of language in this film.  There is also an implication of past rape and taunting over sexuality that led to intense bullying.  Though, on it’s face, a tale of the consequences of bullying for fun contains and even glorifies an even more nefarious and purposeful emotional violence inflicted on a couple with no consequence.  For a full content breakdown, checkout the links below.

What did you think about The Gift?  Let us know in the comments below!

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.