A blue-chip NYC-theater cast (Patrick Wilson, Jennifer Ehle, Marin Ireland, Margo Martindale) can’t elevate CBS’ A Gifted Man high enough to forgive its flaws. Wilson is Michael, a wildly successful Manhattan neurosurgeon whose snobbery and wealth are punished by the sudden appearance of his dead ex-wife (Ehle).
Apparently, being a rich doctor who doesn’t work in a free clinic is a crime, because Michael is rendered foolish at every turn. A trip to his ex’s free clinic to open her password protected files (at her posthumous request) ends with him being put in his place at least three times during one conversation; his sleek office is eventually humanized by some of those free clinic patients wandering aimlessly around, a homemade cake in hand. Aw!
Except Michael is hardly the kind of rich asshole who needs to be put in his place, at least not with Wilson playing him. He’s there for his wayward nephew; he worries and frets over a recalcitrant friend; after a beat, he’s eager to help out the uninsured. The result is a limp medical procedural with the dressings and cinematography of a spiritual conversion (the lighting is so sterile and bright that Michael seems perpetually on the verge of walking into the light himself). The cast may be gifted, but this Man is merely talented.
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