WILL SMITH IN “SEVEN POUNDS”

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NOTE: This review WILL contain several major spoilers to this film. I cannot avoid this, in order to discuss what I liked about the film. I don’t think knowing these spoilers would necessarily lessen the enjoyment of the film to a first-time viewer, but if you haven’t seen it continue to read at your own risk.

I have been a fan of Will Smith for, it seems, most of my life. I recall being a teenager when he began his rap career, as part of the duo, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, and I enjoyed his storytelling rhymes. Then I saw his slow move into acting, with The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which I watch mostly during the first couple of seasons, but not much after that.

I really have to give him credit for the way he’s handled his career. I remember listening to an interview with him on the radio, soon after his first music video, for “Parents Just Don’t Understand”, had came out, and the DJ was saying how good it was and that Will looked like he could be an actor, and Will said he would love to do a movie. And I don’t think I would have imagined that he would have become the worldwide box office star that he is today.

For awhile now I’ve considered him my 4th favorite actor (after Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, and Denzel Washington), and I have seen most of films, with a few notable exceptions. I skipped Legend Of Bagger Vance, because it looked boring, and The Pursuit of Happiness, because it looked depressing. I also have yet to see I Am Legend, and I don’t know why, because that is, on paper, exactly my type of film. It’s even been showing on satellite TV, but I just can’t seem to muster the interest in tuning in to watch it.

I also skipped Seven Pounds when it came out, didn’t really know what it was about it. Then I did catch that halfway through on TV last weekend, and then watched a later showing from the beginning. And, as I type this, I just finished watching it again.

Great movie. Very thought-provoking and dramatic. It may surprise those who only know Smith from his multiple big budget summer action blockbuster, but will come as no surprise to those who saw him in his very first starring role, Six Degrees of Separation. I always knew that he was a good dramatic actor, he just hasn’t been in many films that show off that side of him (he was near-perfect in Ali, though I wasn’t as happy with that film overall).

The movie opens with Will Smith berating a blind man, played by Woody Harrelson, over the phone. Then after hanging up he breaks down, and starts smashing things in his house, as if he’s disgusted with himself for treating the man that way.

He’s Ben Thomas, an IRS Agent, who is seen seeking out and attempting to help the lives of different people. We find out that he has donated a liver to one woman, a kidney to a man, and bone marrow to a young boy. When having his bone marrow extracted, he refuses an anesthetic, so it is a very painful process. It’s as if he’s punishing himself. He also talks to confronts the blind man from earlier, in person, in a diner. With the help of a social worker, the woman he had given a liver to, he meets a woman with two kids, who is being abused by her boyfriend, and tries to convince her to leave. He eventually gives her his own house, so she can live in peace, while he moves into a cheap motel.

There’s also a storyline of him meeting a woman, played by Rosario Dawson, who is having some medical problems, she needs a new heart, in addition to being heavily in debt to the IRS, and he gets to know her, and begins a budding romance with her.

Then we discover the twist to the story: He’s not really Ben Thomas, he’s a man named Tim Thomas. A couple of years earlier, he caused a driving accident (he was texting while driving, something which I must admit that I have done a few times, but never will again after seeing this movie), which caused the deaths of 7 people, including his fiance.

They don’t explain how he got away with that, and why he’s not in jail, but afterward he vowed to atone for this by saving the lives of 7 different people, starting with his brother, the real Ben Thomas, whom Tim donated a lung to, and then stole Ben’s IRS ID in order to find others who needed help.

Rosario Dawson’s character gets worse, and desperately needs a heart transplant, so he kills himself, in order to have his heart donated to her, and his corneas donated to the blind man.

The scene where he kills himself his awesome. First, he calls his best friend, whom he made executor of his Will, in order to make sure that his organs are donated to the right people after he’s dead, and tells him that he’s doing it. Then he calls 911 to get an ambulance on the way, so that he’s not dead too long, fills a bathtub with ice-cubes, to preserve his organs after death, and gets inside
along with his pet jellyfish, which stings him, and kills him.

In the end, Tim’s brother meets with Rosario’s character, and tells her the whole story. She then seeks out Harrelson’s character, who can now see, thanks to the cornea donation from Tim, and the film ends with the two of them walking together.

Really, this is a very emotionally engaging film, even if you know the twist beforehand. Smith and Dawson have great chemistry, and all of the other actors are great, not a weak link in the bunch.

J.R. LeMar gives this film a 9 out of 10.

Amazon.com/Seven Pounds

  20 comments for “WILL SMITH IN “SEVEN POUNDS”

  1. January 3, 2010 at 1:09 AM

    I concur, this was a great movie. I kinda clocked the story from the beginning to a certain degree, but I didn’t realise that he was the cause of the accident from the start of it. The way he killed himself was excellent. Original and well thought out, down to the note warning whoever finds him about the jellyfish. I’m glad I did the usual and ignored the damning review given by several critics.

    With regard to I Am Legend, initially I tried to watch it through… well less honourable means, and fell asleep every time. Bearing that in mind, I don’t know what took me to the movies to go watch it, but I thought it was brilliant. I especially loved the scene where he goes to say hello to the ‘woman’ in the store. The end was lame, but that’s because I like my sci-fi to be somewhat plausible. I recommend it highly.

    Like

  2. Matt Lajeskie
    January 3, 2010 at 1:16 AM

    I thought this was a pretty decent movie. Smith was good as always and Dawson was good as well. I thought the plot was a bit lacking in points and the story was a bit predictable and the jellyfish thing was really dumb but overall the movie was pretty solid. Good enough to not regret seeing it in the theater.

    Like

  3. luis Marquez
    January 3, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    I enjoyed every minute of this film. As I do with every other intelligent movie I see, I ponder at it for a while as it ended. This film gave me hope. It told me that there is such a thing as love, that we don’t have to go around everyday trying only to be better than everybody else, but that we should enjoy the time we expend with those who are as given as we are, the people that we like, the other people that are like us, good by nature. Seven pounds made me feel that in this world i am special, and that what is more important, I am not the only one.

    Like

  4. Leeann
    January 3, 2010 at 1:30 AM

    love Will Smith, he is literally my favourite actor. He’s a total dude. And he acts very well in this film. Unfortunately he’s up against it as this film is overly long, overly sentimental and overly disjointed.

    It’s a nice idea and the twist at the end is superb, I didn’t see it coming at all. And truthfully the end of the film is the only part of the film that’s worth watching. The preceding 1 3/4 hours do drag quite a bit and jump around way too much in a really annoying way. It’s not that it’s hard to follow or anything but you’re left thinking, ‘ok, I know you’re trying to inject some mystery and intrigue here but I don’t care, just tell me what’s going on already so I can go home’!

    My OH left the cinema and a few people were asleep! But the ending is so brilliant (I nearly cried) that it almost makes it worth it. Almost. Provided you really like Will Smith that is!

    Like

  5. January 3, 2010 at 2:05 AM

    @ Tosin: I seemed to have completely missed out on the hype for this film when it came out, didn’t read any reviews or watch trailers, or anything. So I really had no preconceived notions @ all. Afterward, I did some research on it, and I see that it didn’t get many positive reviews. But it still made over $100 million worldwide, which just proves that Will Smith is the man.

    @ Leeann: I’ve seen others say that the first half dragged on a bit too, but it all seemed paced well to me.

    Like

  6. January 3, 2010 at 3:56 AM

    The premise is so ridiculous and the lack of any attempt to make it believable renders the film completely pointless. I am prepared to suspend my disbelief so far but to believe that a terminally ill woman would call some random bloke she had only met for a matter of minutes for support rather than her loving, caring sister is just downright ridiculous. I couldn’t have cared less about the characters and am surprised this ever made it to the big screen..the only tears I wanted to shed were those of complete and utter frustration and boredom. The ‘twist’ is so clumsily written that if you didn’t see it coming you must be stupid. Go and see this film only if you are a masochist or suffer from insomnia.

    Like

    • January 3, 2010 at 4:00 AM

      Ouch.

      Well, you can’t please everyone.

      Like

  7. Violet
    January 3, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    This was Will Smith’s best movie ever! I am not kidding. This story is so touching and heartfelt that it’s hard to walk away from it and not feel good. I heard A LOT of bad reviews regarding this movie but I had to see it for myself–and I am glad I did. I give this movie two thumbs up and a couple of toes! Awesome film!

    Like

    • January 3, 2010 at 3:26 PM

      Well, I wouldn’t say it’s his best movie overall, I’m not sure which one I would pick, but I think it’s one of his best performances.

      Like

  8. OMAR
    January 3, 2010 at 10:45 PM

    Disjointed, depressing, and too many things that couldn’t happen in reality.
    I go to the theater to be entertained, this didn’t do it.

    Like

  9. January 4, 2010 at 12:02 AM

    I really like Smith as an actor, and appreciate his willingness to go beyond what is easy. Yet this movie is a huge airball. The man called Ben Thomas could have saved himself untold trouble by finding a good counselor/therapist.

    Will Smith and Rosario Dawson do good acting work here, but the script, camera work, and direction are too awful to overcome.

    Like

  10. January 4, 2010 at 12:16 AM

    Bah!

    Like

  11. Mary
    January 4, 2010 at 6:15 AM

    I thought it was a powerful and very touching movie. This movie touches the inner you and moves you in ways you didn’t think possible. Will Smith really came though in this movie

    Like

  12. January 4, 2010 at 6:09 PM

    I like some Will Smith movies, but haven’t seen this yet. Now I’m intrigued. Though I am a little worried that it sounds like it might, in some way, glorify suicide, as it seems like he’s making a noble sacrifice by doing this.

    I did love I Am Legend, though. You should try and catch that now.

    Like

    • January 5, 2010 at 4:38 AM

      Hmmm…you’re right. I suppose this movie could be construed as glamorizing suicide. Especially since there is a “happy ending” for the two characters who benefited from Ben’s suicide.

      I hadn’t really thought of that.

      Like

  13. Sandra
    January 11, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    I enjoyed this movie very much. I love Will Smith.

    Like

  14. January 21, 2010 at 10:37 PM

    I loved this movie, and I’m not even a huge Will Smith fan, but it really grabbed me.

    Like

  15. February 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM

    Will is the bomb. Such a talented actor. Hopefully he never raps again, though! haha.

    Like

    • February 12, 2010 at 2:55 PM

      I loved D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince, back in the day. And he had some good songs as “Will Smith.” But, you’re probably right, I think his time as a rapper has passed, so it’s best that he doesn’t try again.

      Like

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