Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I was confused by the promotional previews for the movie Seven Pounds. All I knew for certain is that the movie starred Will Smith and it seemed that his character was giving deserving people a new lease on life. How he was doing this or how he deemed which people were deserving of such a gift, I had no clue. The movie seemed to be dramatic – there were some tears in the promos, but other than that, I had no real insight into the film. It looked interesting, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to see it until a friend of mine who is not a very big Will Smith fan told me that Seven Pounds was one of his better movies.
In Seven Pounds, Will Smith is introduced to the audience as Ben Thomas, an IRS employee with some unusual habits. Little by little, we learn more about the reasons behind these habits and his employment, but at first, we are kept very much in the dark. As the movie unfolds, we catch bits and pieces of Thomas’ past and learn how it may have affected his future and his dealings with other people. To make a long story short, this movie is about a young man, distraught over the car accident that took the lives of the woman he loved and six other innocent people. This car accident sets Thomas on a mission to atone for his past mistakes by making profound differences in the lives of others.
There are very special criteria that the people Mr. Thomas wants to help have to meet. We don’t learn the special criteria until later, though I must confess that I had the whole film figured out after the first fifteen minutes. That’s no lie! Not knowing a thing about the movie other than Will Smith’s character was trying to help other people and piecing things together from the very first fifteen minutes, I realized why he had selected these few people to help and what exactly he was going to help them with. If I try to explain any further, it will ruin the film, so I will leave you with that much information.
Suffice it to say that not all plans work out perfectly and Mr. Thomas ends up falling in love with one of his “candidates.” Emily Posa, a self-employed greeting card printer with a failing heart whose rare blood type makes it nearly impossible for her to be a donor recipient captures Thomas’ heart with her candid yet gentle nature. Unfortunately, falling in love was not a part of Thomas’ plans and now he must weigh his options regarding Emily carefully. Should he push Emily away and simply offer her the gift he had planned to give her or should he allow himself to become more involved with Emily, thus pushing off the gift possibly forever?
How this movie was passed up for Oscar nods, I’ll never know. I’ve never really been a fan of Will Smith’s serious acting. I actually enjoy his comedic side more, but Seven Pounds has shown me a serious side of Will Smith I never knew existed. Rosario Dawson is great as Emily Posa, a woman intrigued by Will Smith’s character despite the mystery surrounding him. Woody Harrelson and Barry Pepper have small roles in this film and perform them well. I would have loved to see more of Barry Pepper. His performances in The Green Mile as well as 61* show him deserving of much more complex roles.
The fact that I figured out the plot behind Seven Pounds only fifteen minutes into the movie took nothing away from the experience. This is a dramatic film with a need-a-box-of-tissues ending. The storyline is understandable and easy to relate to. The characters are so interesting that you forget you are in a movie theater – you’re a fly on the wall experiencing the dramatic moments in these people’s lives, rooting for them in their successes and crying for them in their times of pain. Did I mention you would need a box of tissues for this film?
Seven Pounds is one of those movies that somehow missed out on all of the critical acclaim it deserved while in the theaters, but will probably receive a great deal of attention once it hits the video stores. This is a movie in which every second of the 123 minutes of the film is important to the story and you don’t want to miss a thing. Oh…and did I mention you would need tissues?