EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community


'The Gift' that keeps on giving: The title's 4 meanings

A movie that lingers—for better or worse—has done its job, and The Gift is one such movie. The film’s semi-ambiguous ending has become a hot-button issue for some, but its apt title—The Gift­—is also open for analysis. Let’s dive into four different interpretations.

But first, the gist: Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall play Simon and Robyn Callen—a newly relocated couple dealing with some serious stuff under the guise of “we’re just a happy couple.” On the exterior, The Gift sets itself up to be another stalker/home invasion story. And while there’s a place for some strong intruder flicks, The Gift slowly unravels to be something much more disturbing. As we sit in Robyn’s shoes, we watch as life’s categorical truths (be it Robyn’s marriage or generic movie patterns) come undone before they turn into something else.

And now, back to that title. Warning: Spoilers ahead!

1. The literal

Shortly after Simon and Robyn move into their new home, the couple awkwardly bumps into an old school “buddy” of Simon, Gordo (Joel Edgerton, who also wrote and directed the movie). Itching to be a part of the Callens’ lives, Gordo often drops by with a gift, or he leaves one at the doorstep. For any normal person, this is a kind gesture. But here, it’s unwelcome and moderately creepy as Gordo oversteps his boundaries.

Leaving a bottle of wine is normal. Glass cleaner for the window-heavy house? A little quirky, but still kind of thoughtful—until you realize that he’s getting you that cleaner because he’s pensively observed your house and its many windows. And then there’s fish food—for the koi fish he just left in your pond. That’s more than a gift; it’s a responsibility.

After the couple’s falling out with Gordo, Robyn is briefly teased with another gift at her baby shower. No worries—it’s not from Gordo. But knowing that its similar packaging vexed Robyn is enough to know the gifts‘ influence over her not-so-well-being.

And finally, those gifts. After all is said and done, Gordo comes through with one last ill-intentioned lot of presents for Simon. But more on those in a minute.

The Gift - Jason Bateman

2. The “positive” outlook

Early on, we know Gordo comes from a hard life—we don’t know what happened exactly (yet), but something affected the guy. During his first (and only) dinner with Simon and Robyn, Gordo generically talks about how bad and good things happen to everyone. He says that even the bad things can turn into gifts. At this point, we know nothing of the roller coaster that we’re about to ride, so the immediate takeaway is that this must mean something. He did just mention the title, right?

The Gift - Dinner

Of course, we later learn that the universe’s gift to Gordo would be the result of a very bad thing that Simon did to him back in high school.

3. The gift of knowing

At the beginning of The Gift, we’re Team Simon and Robyn. Gordo’s a freak, right? By the middle, we’re mostly Team Robyn. Toward the end, we’re part Team Robyn and part Team Gordo. But by the time the credits roll, we’re 100 percent Team Robyn. So—what happened? Gordo intervened and let Robyn know—in a roundabout way—the truth about her husband. This in itself is a gift, and a very important one at that.

The Gift - Rebecca Hall and Jason Bateman

Simon is a bully. And not in an “I beat up nerds in high school” kind of way, as bad as that is. Kids can be kids—they can be extremely cruel and vindictive. But Simon wasn’t just a bully, he is a bully. Feeling no remorse for his past wrongdoings (fabricating a story about Gordo that ruined his life), he feigns an apology to Gordo to no avail, then proceeds to bully him again in a very demeaning, schoolboy-ish way.

Later, we also learn that it’s not just about the past and Gordo. While going for a work promotion, Simon also manages to ruin his competitor’s life by—once again—making up stories. Once a bully, always a bully. So yeah, Robyn can thank Gordo for that gift of knowledge.

4. The baby

Ah, the miracle of life! Babies are a gift. So, after learning that prior to their move, Robyn suffered a miscarriage (at the hands of stress and subsequent pill/alcohol abuse?), she and Simon try for another baby. But it’s not so straightforward. Obviously.

After the Callens break up with Gordo, we find out that Robyn is pregnant again through a time-passing montage. It’s all happy times … until everything is revealed about Simon and Robyn goes into labor. She has the baby (a boy!) and then breaks up with her husband. There are some things you just can’t get over in a marriage. You know, all of a sudden discovering you’re married to a horrible boss bully—that’s one of those things.

Simon can’t quite comprehend the dire situation. He goes home to find Gordo’s last gifts: a bassinet, a key (to the Callens’ house—creepy), a CD (containing a damning conversation between Simon and Robyn about Gordo), and a DVD. Simon pops the DVD into the player and proceeds to watch Gordo (wearing a monkey mask) allude to drugging Robyn in her home. He then gropes her and hints at more before turning off the camera.

So, let’s do the math—how long ago did Robyn find out she was pregnant?

Simon and Gordo share a conversation later in which Gordo admits nothing, denies nothing, then hints at everything. Nevertheless, this little baby boy is a precious gift to Robyn. But from whom? That depends on your overall take on the film.

The Gift - Rebecca Hall

In its most accurate definition, The Gift is simply the gift that keeps on giving. Why? Because we’re still talking about it.

So, how did you interpret The Gift?

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like

Comments

EDIT POST