The Girl With All The Gifts – review by Brandon Linden
We sent Brandon to Cineworld to enjoy an early bird viewing of The Girl With All The Gifts before it screens across the nation. Here’s what he thought:
A fungal infection has spread across the planet turning most of the population into zombies. Unaffected survivors have banded together in various high security compounds but things are looking grim and humanity is desperate to find a cure.
Oddly, children who are born with the infection are still able to think and as long as they feed regularly and don’t smell humans they appear human. The narrative focusses on one of these children, Melanie (played by Sennia Nanua), who is highly intelligent and is among a group of other kids kept at a military compound and experimented on to help find a cure.
Sounding a bit Maze Runner? The kids are educated on the base by Miss Justineau (Gemma Arterton) who is worshipped by Melanie, her favourite student. Miss Justineau is kind to the children and views them as human, unlike everyone else on the base who see them as monsters, including sergeant Parks (Paddy Considine), the man in charge of supervising the children and ensuring that they don’t turn into rabid zombies (hungries) and eat everyone in sight.
Also on the base is Dr. Caldwell (Glenn Close), who is experimenting on and dissecting the children in the hopes of finding a cure. When she chooses Melanie as her next test subject, Miss Justineau is outraged and attempts to stop Dr. Caldwell, but at that very moment the base is overrun with hungries, forcing Melanie, Miss Justineau, sergeant Parks and Dr. Caldwell to flee.
The rest of the film is a tense, nail-biting journey of survival through woodland and a city infested with hungries. In one nail-biting scene they have to tip-toe through a group of dozens of dormant hungries – sound a bit I Am Legend?
Throughout the film you begin to sympathise with Melanie; her appearance of innocence, her isolation, her naivety to what she is as well as to the world around her. The others begin to trust her as they rely on her more and more to help them navigate the horde of hungries.
Towards the end of the film Dr Caldwell tries to convince Melanie to let her dissect her, telling her it’s the only way to save Miss Justineau.
Melanie asks her if Miss Justineau is alive. Dr Caldwell responds ‘yes’ and, in possibly the biggest imapct scene in the movie, Melanie replies “Then why should I die while you live?”, a line that echoes in your mind long after the movie is over. A truly original story filled with not only blood, guts, and gore, but also emotion and intelligence, with a climactic and completely unexpected ending that makes us question what it means to be human.
Based on the best-selling, critically acclaimed novel of the same name by M.R. Carey, The Girl With All The Gifts is screening in cinemas from today.