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Film / The Gift (2000)

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A 2000 Horror/Mystery film directed by Sam Raimi and starring Cate Blanchett, Keanu Reeves, Giovanni Ribisi, Katie Holmes, Greg Kinnear, Hilary Swank and Kim Dickens, Written by Billy Bob Thornton and Tom Epperson.

Annie Wilson is a young widow trying to make ends meet in a small town in Alabama as a clairvoyant. She's booked around the clock by those seeking advice, but the rest of the town sees her either as a liar or a witch. Annie is called upon by those who normally don't ask for her help, however, when the daughter of the richest man in town goes missing and the investigation hits a brick wall. As she tries to help the investigation, being contacted by the ghost of the missing woman the whole time, her normal duties of being a widowed mother and advising some locals with some very real problems of their own begins to fall apart.

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Not to be confused with The Gift (2015).


Provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: It’s revealed that Buddy’s father was abusing him sexually and his mother knew but did nothing.
  • Adult Fear: Annie lost her husband in a factory explosion, Valerie is caught in an extremely abusive marriage, and Buddy has some issues with his father that he can't tell anyone about.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Jessica King. Also Valerie.
  • Alliterative Name: David Duncan.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Thanks to her clairvoyance, most of the citizens of Brixton regard Annie with suspicion at best.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Wayne is revealed to be Jessica’s killer, but prior to Annie learning the truth he plays the role of the grieving fiancé well.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Wayne assaults Annie violently when she learns that he killed his fiancée Jessica King. Annie is on the receiving end of a head injury after being hit with a heavy flashlight, but all she has to show for it is a trickle of blood down her face.
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  • Blessed with Suck: Annie can see the future. Shame the future is filled with horrors.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Annie is prone to this, usually after she’s Dreaming of Things to Come.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The f word gets thrown around plenty by various characters.
  • Domestic Abuse: Donnie does not treat Valerie well at all.
  • Driven to Suicide: To Annie’s horror, Buddy committed suicide at a mental hospital.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Donnie is the only obviously villainous character in the story. When it turns out he's not the killer, you know this is going to happen.
  • The Fall Guy: Wayne frames Donnie for Jessica’s murder.
  • Foreshadowing: Early into Jessica’s disappearance, Annie has a vision of a pond with white lilies growing nearby which is where Jessica was found dead. Lilies, especially white ones, are often a symbol of death and are often displayed at funerals.
  • Good Parents: Annie is shown to be a good mother to her boys. Her late husband is implied to be this as well.
  • Happily Married: Annie and Ben Senior were this before he died.
  • Hollywood Heart Attack: Mr. King suffers from one after Jessica’s body was retrieved from Donnie’s pond.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Annie has these, as do her children.
  • In the Blood: According to Annie’s grandmother, her psychic abilities run in the family.
  • Ironic Echo: Used to great effect a couple of times.
    • "Donnie's not crazy enough to kill anybody."
    • "She didn't like it when I killed her."
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Annie’s full name is actually Annabelle but she never uses it.
  • Magic Realism: The film is quite realistic, if we do not take into account the visions of the main heroine and The Reveal.
  • A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: Averted, though subtly implied. Annie goes on a rant about how the entire situation is the exact opposite of fun when accused of enjoying the theatrical trial, of which she has been made the main attraction. That same trial asked her to read the defense attorney's mind, but she can't.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Mr. King outlives his daughter Jessica after she’s brutally murdered. It also doubles as a tearjerker because there’s no mention of her mother and she’s implied to be an only child.
  • Posthumous Character: Annie’s husband Ben Wilson Senior has died one year prior to the events of the movie.
  • Really Gets Around: Donnie. Also Jessica.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Sheriff Pearl Johnson is skeptical of Annie’s abilities, but he does admit that she was a big help solving Jessica King’s disappearance.
  • Shown Their Work: In preparation for her role as Annie, Cate Blanchett visited five different psychics in one week. Keanu Reeves and Hilary Swank (who play Donnie and Valerie respectively) also visited local abuse counselors to better understand why men abuse their wives and why women stay with abusive spouses.
  • Southern Gothic: Takes place in Brixton, Georgia.
  • Sweet Tooth: A brief scene shows Annie’s youngest son as this, having eaten the chocolate frosting she was planning to use for a cake.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Annie
  • Uptown Girl: Jessica King was this for her fiancé.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Jessica’s real killer was identified, there’s no mention if Donnie was declared innocent of murder and released from jail or if he was kept in jail for domestic abuse.
  • Widow Witch: Annie is a widow and suspected of being a witch by half the town.
  • Woman in White: Annie often dresses in white and other light colors.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Played with. Donnie is not above threatening children.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Donnie and Jessica cheat on their significant others with each other.

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