Fox Searchlight Picturess
Starring: Chris Evans, Mckenna Grace
Directed by: Marc Webb
Cat Out of the Bag Alert! This review contains some spoilers for this film!
Synopsis: Frank Adler (Chris Evans) has been raising his niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) since his sister died and realizes she is a gifted child but wants her to live a normal childhood unlike his mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) who wants Mary to reach her full potential.
Featured Feline: Mary owns a one-eyed cat named Fred who is spotlighted in several scenes. In the opening moments when Mary is about to go to public school for the first time, she passes Fred who is eating from his bowl.
Mary asks who will take care of Fred and throw him his ping pong balls while she is in school?
Later Frank takes Mary out on one of the boats he is repairing. She brings Fred with her and there are some really nice moments on the beach. Mary comments that Fred would probably like to catch a sandpiper. “But he’d regret it. Fred’s not a killer. He’s a lover.”
A highlight comes soon afterwards when Mary brings Fred to class for show and tell. “Not only is his name Fred but he has just one eye. I know … go ahead and count but I promise you, it’s always one.” She goes on to explain, “He is a smart smart cat but no one realizes that. No one understand him. No one.”
Fred also sits with Mary under her laptop when she is upset with Frank.
Late in the film after Mary has gone to live in a foster home, taking Fred with her, her teacher Bonnie (Jenny Slate) sees Fred on an adoptation poster for the local animal shelter. She alerts Frank right away.
Frank races down to the shelter and there is an anxious moment when it appears Fred may have been euthanized. In fact Fred and two other cats, a tuxedo named Loui and a tabby named Chili, are all just moments from being killed.
Frank not only adopts Fred but the two other cats as well! While Fred is not seen again after this, he is mentioned several times.
The original Fred was a real one-eyed cat who was the inspiration for the story. Screenwriter Tom Flynn explained how Fred is a real cat who he and his wife found in an adoption center. His wife picked him up and Fred wrapped his paws around her neck and started purring and his wife said, “Wrap him up!” Flynn based the story on Fred and his sister. The cat actor(s) playing Fred in the film were actually two-eyed and were made monocular by the use of digital technology. The name of the cat actors has so far remained anonymous but the animal coordinator for the film was Sid Yost.
Final Mewsings: A one-eyed cat who can play ping pong? I think we know who the gifted one is!