The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) Review

The Girl With All The Gifts (2016)

Directed by Colm McCarthy

Based on The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Starring: Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close, Sennia Nanua

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The plot depicts a dystopian future following a breakdown of society after most of humanity is wiped out by a fungal infection and focuses upon the struggle of a scientist, a teacher and two soldiers who embark on a journey of survival with a special young girl named Melanie.

My Opinion:

First of all, I’ll point out that we’re dealing with a lot of my favorite things when it comes to this movie: Post-apocalyptic, dystopian, an infection that turns people zombie-like… So this movie is totally my type of thing but I have to say that I thought it was really good & quite an original take on a genre I never would have expected to become as mainstream as it has nowadays. I liked zombie movies before they were cool, dammit. 😉 lol

This is from the book of the same name by M.R. Carey & it’s a rare occasion that I haven’t read a novel in this genre before seeing the movie. I really want to read it now (but I hate doing it that way around). Has anyone here read it? It’s had very good reviews. But I have to say that it was nice to watch a movie like this where for once I didn’t know much about it beforehand & had no idea what would happen. So that probably helped but I really did enjoy everything about this film. I liked the story, I really liked the ending (I often complain about horror movie endings), and I thought it had a great overall atmosphere & very interesting score.

The characters are also really good in this, which is always extremely important to me. I’d have liked a little more character development & to know more about their pasts (maybe there’s more in the book?) but the movie still did well with them for its running time & I cared about what would happen to everyone. That’s more than can be said for most modern horror films (like Don’t Breathe, which I’ll review next week – hateful characters in that!).

Glenn Close plays a scientist trying to create a cure for the infection & Paddy Considine plays a soldier. They’re both good & have big roles in this story but the main characters are Gemma Arterton as a teacher & fantastic newcomer Sennia Nanua as her favorite student, Melanie. These two have a great mother/daughter type of relationship that kind of made me think of Ellen Ripley & Newt in Aliens. Being the mother of a daughter, I always enjoy that maternal instinct thing in movies (especially cool movies with aliens & zombies since I’m not a girly girl). Arterton did a very good job but Sennia Nanua was amazing. I immediately looked her up & she’s been in nothing else other than a short film (a ska film set in 1980 – I want to see it!). She’s certainly an actress to watch. What’s with young people being so damn good in movies nowadays? Between her & Jacob Temblay in Room, this has been quite a year for amazing performances from young people (btw – Room was this year in the UK before anyone corrects me).

I don’t want to get too detailed on the plot as, from what I can tell, this movie doesn’t yet have an American release date? That’s a shame – I do recommend it if it makes its way overseas (it’s an English film). If you liked 28 Days Later, this is worth a watch as it has a similar mood & vibe plus, of course, a deserted London thanks to a contagious infection that turns people zombie-like.

I think this is a good one to watch without knowing too much but I promise that it’s not “just another unoriginal zombie movie”. As there are so many now, it’s hard to bring something new to the table but I think this movie does manage to give us something a bit unexpected. It’s a serious film – almost more thriller than horror & more about the relationships between the characters & moral implications involving Glenn Close’s work as a scientist. So, yeah, it has people who want to feed on brains but it’s not a braindead film. I like a movie that makes you think & it’s a good one for discussion afterwards. I’m really glad I saw The Girl With All The Gifts – I hope it gets a wider release & that more people give it a chance. And Sennia Nanua is definitely one to watch.

My Rating: 8/10

**Here’s the trailer if you do want to know a bit more than what I’ve told you. I did see this trailer beforehand & it didn’t ruin anything for me.

23 thoughts on “The Girl With All The Gifts (2016) Review

  1. I’m glad you liked this! I read the book earlier this year and I was surprised to see they had made a movie of it. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Hmm… Well, I suppose it’s not the happiest movie ever. But I love depressing apocalyptic films. ; ) You really should check it out – I think you’re someone who would appreciate it! : ) It doesn’t seem very well known at the moment.

  2. I’m not big on the zombie genre, but the focus on characters that you mentioned has me interested about this one, especially since you say it ends well. That’s always preferred with dystopias. 😉
    BTW, I saw two films recently that I can’t help but think you’d like, not zombie flicks but thrillers with apocalypses and infections. One is Hidden with Alexander Skarsgard, and the other’s an anime film called King of Thorn. Both really surprised me with how much I enjoyed them so you might check them out sometime. Best not to read too much about either one beforehand.

    • Yep – this is more of a “thinking” zombie movie. You might like it. : ) Ohh – thanks for the recommendations! I’ll definitely add them to my “To Watch List” (just did right this second, actually) as I LOVE this genre. For whatever strange reason. I promise to not read too much about them, though! : )

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    • Thanks! : ) Oh man – these young actors are so talented these days. They’re out-performing the adult stars. It’s cool, though – I remember that the kids in movies used to quite often be really “bad” actors.

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  7. This just came out to buy & rent today and I knew I’d seen it recommended somewhere (your top ten, to be precise). Sounds like it’s definitely one for me, though whether I should wait ’til its on Netflix/Amazon/wherever or rent it now with some of my hard-earned free Amazon credits, I have yet to decide…

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