“You’re gonna meet kids today you can borrow money from for the rest of your life,” said a guy to a cute little girl while she boarded into the school bus.
The story is about a seven year old girl Mary(Mckenna Grace), who lived with her maternal uncle Frank(Chris Evans). The little girl exhibited extraordinary talent in mathematics which made her class-teacher Bonnie(Jenny Slate) fascinated and concerned at the same time. As the little girl was far advanced in comparison to her age, normal studies used to bore her. Not only she was extremely talented, she was matured and sassy.
As soon as Bonnie discovered Mary’s special ability, she approached Frank to talk about it. Frank tried to deny the fact that his niece was a gifted child. Eventually Bonnie found out that Mary was actually the daughter of a famous mathematician who died at a very young age. Mary’s talent was hard to be overlooked and the school authority suggested Frank to get Mary admitted in one of the schools for the gifted people. Mary’s principal also assured Frank of arranging scholarship for her so that Frank didn’t step back due to financial reason.
Frank behaved stubbornly whenever he was suggested to give recognition to Mary’s ability to Mary’s gift. Nobody could change Frank’s mind to keep her in a normal school with all the other kids of her own age and to let her live the life of a normal kid.
Meanwhile Evelyn(Lindsay Duncan), Mary’s grandmother came to visit her getting an air of her talent. Evelyn was a scientist too, like Mary’s mother. She was ambitious and authoritarian. She wanted to take custody of Mary and send her to an advanced school. Evelyn’s ambitions about Mary made her completely blind to the fact that a seven-year-old Mary needed to enjoy her childhood too. On the contrary, Frank wanted Mary to play like any other normal kid and grow up as a good human-being.
The truth of Mary’s childhood was unveiled like this.
One day, Mary’s mom came to visit her brother Frank along with little Marry. she wanted to talk to him. As Frank was going for a date he asked her to stay at his place. On returning home, Frank found that his sister had committed suicide and she left little Mary on the couch. The guilt of not listening to his sister when she needed him the most kept on haunting him.
Mary’s mom was working on a research paper, when she died. She was crushed under the weight of Evelyn’s expectations and ambitions. She got pregnant at a young age with Mary and Mary’s father abandoned them. After a lot of struggle, finally she gave up to life. In her last days, not even Evelyn was there to support and comfort her. This is why, after coming to know about Mary’s genius, Frank didn’t want to let it ruin his niece’s life. Frank and Evelyn got into fight over Mary’s custody and ended up in court. After a lose-lose situation, both the parties agreed that a couple in the neighborhood would adopt Mary.
Soon, Frank realized that Evelyn was meeting her granddaughter and trying to manoeuvre her. At this point, Frank showed his mom the research work that his sister had finished way before her death. Mary’s mom gave it to Frank to publish it after her mother’s death as it was only thing Evelyn wanted of her daughter. Finally Evelyn realized her mistake and gave up on Mary.
The story ends with Mary going to an advanced school with adults and playing with the kids of her own age at break time.
The movie has portrayed the affection and friendship between an uncle and a niece very beautifully. It is a simple straight forward movie.