The Gift stars Jason Bateman (from Hancock), Rebecca Hall (from Vicky Cristina Barcelona ) and Joel Edgerton. This is also Joel’s directorial debut. It’s the story of Simon (Jason) and Robyn (Rebecca) who move into the suburbs of LA. As they are setting up they run into Simon’s old classmate from school – Gordon (Joel). Gordon a.k.a Gordo is socially awkward and Simon explains to Robyn how Gordon was called Gordo the Weirdo in school. While the happy couple try and get more footing on their lives in LA, they continue to run into Gordo more and this starts to unbox more stories from his and Simon’s past. Here’s the film The Gift explained.
It’s not very difficult to guess that there is a lot more than meets the eye – there are “truths” that are uncovered and demons that are discovered. The movie plays out well, it keeps you interested and ends crisply, however with some pitfalls (discussed in the next section). Though there is nothing in the movie that really swings around and sucker punches you, it’s a good watch. Situations pan out naturally and nothing is over the top. I’d say it’s a great starter for Joel Edgerton, it’s definitely worth a watch.
Let’s go through the plot chronologically.
Simon, right from school, is a bully. He does whatever it takes to get him to a better spot in life. While the movie doesn’t show it, Simon would have screwed around with a lot of kids and their lives. One such victim is Gordon. For all you know Simon coined the name “Gordo the Weirdo”. Anyways, Simon is an asshole. He creates a fake story about Gordo being molested by a senior student in a car. Yes, it’s a fake story, Simon doesn’t molest Gordo, and he just fakes the story to screw around with Gordo. Yes, for fun, like I mentioned earlier, Simon is established to be an asshole. Gordo’s dad finds out about this and beats the crap out of Gordo to an inch of his life. Apparently, Gordo’s dad was an asshole in his own right. He felt Gordo needed a beating because Gordo could have been gay and it’s better to beat it out of him.
Years pass, Gordo’s life has been in turmoil because of that incident while Simon has made it big.
Move to LA
Simon and Robyn have been trying for a child and she has a miscarriage. To restart their life they decide to move to LA. Gordo then runs into Simon in LA and starts meeting his wife Robyn quite frequently. This makes Simon uncomfortable. While Robyn invites Gordon over for dinner and tea, Simon wants her to stop. Gordon invites the two of them to a dinner to return the favour. Simon and Robyn agree to go over to let Gordon know that the meeting needs to stop because they really never were friends and they can’t be now either. At the dinner, they get to find out that the gigantic house that Gordon lives in is actually his wife’s and that she’s left him. Simon proceeds as per plan and tells Gordon that they should stop meeting because it’s too awkward.
After that, Gordon kills the fish he gifts them (yeah, he gifts them fish but leaving a bunch in their little pond, ain’t saying Gordo is not creepy) and perhaps abducts their dog. There is no evidence that Gordon was responsible but it’s fair to assume. They also find out that the house belonged to some strangers, Gordon had simply broken in and made up the story of his wife and everything in general. Simon and Robyn go to the cops and they figure that Gordon was a chauffeur and had gained access to the house from the garage.
Robyn starts being paranoid and feels that she’s being followed. She even steals prescription medicine and one fine morning, due to the apparent stress, she faints. The reality is that she is drugged by Gordon (which is revealed later). Gordon even tapes all of this with hidden cameras. Then he films himself molesting Robyn and cuts off the recording leaving question of what he did next. After this Simon and Robyn get a note of apology from Gordon with a mention of “let bygones be bygones”. This puts a question in Robyn’s mind.
Robyn now gets pregnant. We don’t know if it is Simon’s or Gordons. Poor Robyn actually, she had nothing to do with Gordon’s turmoil but is still the recipient of the revenge. Anyhow, no one at this point knows any of Gordon’s acts. Robyn gets to know from Simon’s friend Greg that Simon was an asshole in school and made up the molestation story and the plight of Gordon thereafter. She searches Simon’s desk to find a background check on Gordon. Note here that she also finds a file on Danny but ignores it, that one is for us, the viewers. Robyn confronts Simon with the details on his bullying but Simon has no remorse. She brings up the background checks on Gordon. Simon confesses to doing that and getting a restraint order for their safety. Simon finds out where Gordon is and unwillingly apologizes. Not only does he do that, he beats Gordon up for not accepting his half-assed apology. Simon’s quite the man, he comes back and lies to his wife about how smooth that went.
Month pass. Simon gets promoted over his other competition Danny. Simon has fabricated some damaging facts on Danny and this has gotten him fired. Simon orchestrates his promotion by taking out his competition. In a party at their home Danny attacks their home because he knows Simon has screwed him over and has lost his job as a result. Robyn’s water breaks and they rush her for her delivery. Robyn realizes that her husband is … well an asshole and doesn’t stop at anything for his personal benefit. She wants to leave him. Simon gets a call from his office and he’s told that the truth about his fabrication on Danny is out and is fired.
Simon goes home and finds a footage that Gordon has left. The footage has Gordon molesting Robyn when she’s unconscious but doesn’t reveal what he did with her next. Simon runs back to the hospital. Gordon meets Robyn, congratulates her and leaves. Simon chases behind Gordon but loses him in the lift. Gordon then calls Simon to explain the predicament of the father of the child.
Ending Explained : What has Gordon done?
Well this is the pitfall in the story – is Gordon the mastermind who engineers the destruction of Simon’s life? Well not really, not all of it, at least there is no evidence presented in the movie. We know that Gordon has done enough with Robyn to mess around with Simon’s head on who the father of the child is. This is exactly what Gordon wants Simon to go through, great, evil. However, there is no saying how Simon’s firm finds out about his framing of Danny – this may or may not have been Gordon’s doing, most likely not. Simon is shown to have gotten what was coming to him thanks to him being an asshole but it all so conveniently coincides together. Consider this, Gordon is not responsible for Simon’s firm to find out about Danny’s framing. This means that Simon may have never been caught. Robyn wouldn’t leave him. Had it happened this way, Gordon would have simply introduced the “doubt” in Simons head. This could simply be confirmed with a DNA test. Given the footage, Gordon would be screwed for life whether or not he is the father. If anything Robyn would be the one fully messed up because of this. Simon, being the asshole, would get Gordon arrested and go back to living his life. Of course, if the DNA test proves to make Gordon the father, then that would mess them all up. On the other hand if the test proves Simon to be the father, then the only one who would get screwed is Gordon thanks to his footage. Looks to be that it took a lot of luck for the shit to hit the roof all at once for Simon to get messed up. Not really a satisfying revenge tale that way.
Barry is a technologist who helps start-ups build successful products. His love for movies and production has led him to write his well-received film explanation and analysis articles to help everyone appreciate the films better. He’s regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults on storyboarding from time to time.
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