The Gift (2000 film)

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

The Gift
Theatrical film poster
Directed bySam Raimi
Written by
Produced byJames Jacks
Gary Lucchesi
Tom Rosenberg
Grant Curtis
CinematographyJamie Anderson
Edited byBob Murawski
Music byChristopher Young
Distributed byParamount Classics
Release date
  • December 22, 2000 (2000-12-22)
Running time
112 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$10 million[1][2]
Box office$44.6 million[3]

The Gift is a 2000 American paranormal thriller film directed by Sam Raimi, with a screenplay written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson based on the alleged psychic experiences of Thornton's mother.[4]

The film centers on Annie (Cate Blanchett), who becomes involved in a murder case after she has a vision. The cast also includes Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Hilary Swank, Katie Holmes, and Greg Kinnear.


In Brixton, Georgia, widow Annie Wilson is a clairvoyant who has visions of her late grandmother. Jessica King, the fiancée of the school principal, Wayne Collins, disappears. When Annie receives a vision that Jessica has been killed and her body thrown into a pond, she informs local sheriff Pearl Johnson.

Despite his skepticism, Johnson searches the pond at the home of Donnie and Valerie Barksdale. Valerie is one of Annie's clients. Donnie has repeatedly threatened Annie and her three children, because Annie advised Valerie to leave him due to his abuse. The police find Jessica's body in the pond and Donnie is arrested for her murder.

While giving Annie a lift home, her friend Buddy Cole bursts into tears. She gives him a washcloth that belonged to her husband. Buddy wipes his face, and doesn't give it back. Buddy hates his father and later tries to explain to Annie why, but Annie is preoccupied and doesn't listen. That evening, Buddy's mother calls Annie for help, as Buddy has tied his father to a chair. Buddy sets his father on fire, and it is revealed that Buddy's father sexually abused him as a child. Buddy is arrested and taken to a mental hospital.

At Donnie's trial, it's revealed that he had an affair with Jessica. He is convicted of Jessica's murder and sent to prison. Later, Annie receives more visions revealing that Donnie is innocent and that someone else wants to kill her. She asks prosecutor David Duncan to reopen the case. After Duncan declines, Annie threatens to reveal that he had an affair with Jessica, which she witnessed. Duncan attempts to bribe Annie in exchange for her silence, but Annie refuses.

Annie tells Wayne that Donnie is not the murderer, but that Duncan will not reopen the investigation. At Wayne's suggestion, he and Annie drive out to the pond at night, where Annie has a vision showing Wayne is actually the murderer. Wayne confesses that he was angry after discovering Jessica was cheating on him with Donnie. Wayne attempts to kill Annie by striking her in the head with a flashlight, but Buddy appears and knocks him out. Annie and Buddy lock the unconscious Wayne in the trunk of Annie's car. Buddy tells Annie that he escaped from the mental hospital and hands her the washcloth to wipe her tears.

The two drive to the police station. Buddy waits in the car while she enters the station. When she returns with the police, Buddy has disappeared. When Annie explains what happened at the pond, Johnson informs her that Buddy died by suicide earlier that day. Annie reaches into her pocket and pulls out the washcloth Buddy gave her. Annie returns home and looks at photographs of her late husband Ben that her oldest son holds as he falls asleep each night. The next morning, she and her sons are at his graveside.



The film was written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson before the success of Sling Blade.[5]


Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 58% based on 123 reviews, with an average score of 5.90/10. The site's consensus reads, "With a reported budget of around 10 million, The Gift is obviously a labor of love for those involved. Unfortunately, the A-list cast can't prevent the movie from becoming a by-the-numbers whodunit with an ending that's all but unsatisfactory."[6] On Metacritic it has a score of 62% based on reviews from 29 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[8]

Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4, and called it "Ingenious in its plotting, colorful in its characters, taut in its direction and fortunate in possessing Cate Blanchett."[9] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote: "Raimi's flair for rich atmospherics — expertly abetted by cinematographer Jamie Anderson (Grosse Pointe Blank) and composer Christopher Young (Wonder Boys) — and a cast that goes full throttle hold you in thrall. "[5] Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote: "Raimi eschews trendy, over-emphatic effects in favor of a straightforward approach that makes for a solid tale well told."[10]

Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave it a mixed review and was critical that the "Characters lean too heavily toward the Southern grotesque, and the direction the plot is heading is more predictable than it should be." Despite praising the cast, Turan wrote: "Overly familiar material, even well done, cannot be made more intrinsically interesting than it is. Not even by Cate Blanchett and Keanu Reeves."[11] A. O. Scott of The New York Times wrote: "The picture is saved from mediocrity by Mr. Raimi's smooth competence, and by the unusually high quality of the acting."[12] Curt Fields of The Washington Post called it "So chock-full of stereotypes as to be a filmic Southern Country Safari" and advised "Don't Bother Opening This 'Gift'".[13]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $12,008,642 at the US box office against a production budget of $10 million.[3][1]


Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Fangoria Chainsaw Awards Best Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Keanu Reeves Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Supporting Male Giovanni Ribisi Nominated [14]
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated [15]
Saturn Awards Best Horror Film Nominated [16]
Best Actress Cate Blanchett Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Giovanni Ribisi Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Hilary Swank Nominated
Best Writing Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie – Horror/Thriller Nominated [17]
World Stunt Awards Best Fire Stunt Erik Cord Nominated [18]


  1. ^ a b "The Gift (2000) - Financial Information". Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  2. ^ Fleming, Michael (3 January 2000). "Reeves wraps up villain in Raimi's 'Gift' ensemble". Variety. an exceptionally strong cast given its budget of less than $10 million
  3. ^ a b "The Gift (2000)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-09-29.
  4. ^ Amélie; Sage. "THE GIFT (2001)". Archived from the original on March 3, 2008. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Travers, Peter (January 19, 2001). "The Gift". Rolling Stone.
  6. ^ The Gift at Rotten Tomatoes
  7. ^ "The Gift". Metacritic.
  8. ^ "GIFT, THE (2015) B". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on February 6, 2018.
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 19, 2001). "The Gift". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved April 1, 2020 – via
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd (14 December 2000). "The Gift". Variety.
  11. ^ Kenneth Turan (20 December 2000). "Southern Gothic 'Gift' Bears a Mixed Blessing". Los Angeles Times.
  12. ^ Scott, A. O. (19 January 2001). "FILM REVIEW; With Visits From the Dead, a Very Lively Home". The New York Times.
  13. ^ Curt Fields (January 19, 2001). "Don't Bother Opening This 'Gift'". Washington Post.
  14. ^ "36 Years of Nominees and Winners" (PDF). Independent Spirit Awards. Retrieved August 13, 2021.
  15. ^ "PFCS Awards – 2001". IMDb. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  16. ^ "X-Men Sweeps Saturn Awards". ABC News. June 13, 2001. Retrieved June 5, 2022.
  17. ^ "'Teen Choice 2001". IMDb. Retrieved November 19, 2014.
  18. ^ "2001 Winners & Nominees". Taurus World Stunt Awards.

External links[edit]