Weighing in at a very long two hours, Seven Pounds has certainly set itself up to be this year’s heart wrenching opus of personal forgiveness and redemption. It also sets the stage for Will Smith to once again prove that he’s, gulp, one of the more accomplished actors of my generation.
He is Ben Thomas, a matter of fact man with an agenda. Sure, you want to know what it is, but I’m not going to tell you. What I will say is it takes more than half the movie for director Gabriele Muccino to get to even thinking about hinting to what it is. What we know initially is he wants to kill himself — but maybe he doesn’t as he is alerting a 911 operator of his plans. Via a flashback, we find out what led him to this moment.
And through it all we see Mr. Thomas is a deeply troubled man with convictions that are foreign to most. In one scene, he berates a blind meat salesman on the phone named Ezra (Woody Harrelson) with hard hitting insults that caused me to wince in discomfort. In another, he reaches out to Connie (Elpidia Carrillo) an abused Mexican woman and offers her and her children shelter from a boyfriend who beats her incessantly. In yet another, he causes his childhood friend Dan (Barry Pepper) to emotionally breakdown while insisting that he keep his word and do something to or for Ben that no man or woman should have to do. It’s a bizarre emotional roller coaster, that few would want to stand in line for.
But in the midst of it all, he meets Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a beautiful young lady with a heart condition. At first he tries to remain standoffish not offering to her a rhyme or reason as to why he has befriended her. But she’s having none of it — if he wants in, she does too. Love unfolds where none was expected or wanted. Is he saving her or is she saving him?
The success of Seven Pounds lays strictly with the believability of Will Smith and his being able to convince the viewer that Ben believes what he is doing will truly bring him salvation. Relying on his strong performance from such movies as The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith is able to comfortably juggle the many hats this role forces him to wear. It would have been very easy to slip up and make Ben a calloused, unlikable person, so Will deserves a bit of praise for his characterization. Likewise, it doesn’t hurt that Rosario Dawson puts on a powerful performance herself. She skillfully conveys strength and vulnerability — two overwhelming emotions sure to arise when one is faced with the gut-wrenching knowledge of one’s imminent demise. Watching them break down each others walls as they slowly meander down the path of intimacy was a treat and it was presented as naturally as a love story can be done too.
But, I can’t help but wish the movie was a bit shorter. There are more than a few moments that added very little to the overall presentation and would not have been missed had they been left on the cutting room floor. I’ll also add that Seven Pounds puts forth an idea that requires some introspection and may cause viewers to think, “What the hell was that all about?” While I wasn’t necessarily a part of that group, I know I asked myself a few pointed questions at the film’s conclusion that I would have preferred to not have.
And oh yeah, a quick warning to the men going to see this with their significant others: BE CAREFUL. There are some tear-jerker scenes that could make Attila the Hun well up and cry. Hide some tissues in your jacket pocket, there’s a damn good chance you’ll need ’em.
December 22, 2008 @ 9:28 am JerseyMike
You cry? Such a wuss…
On to your review. I find it hard to understand why you thought this movie was any good? Took forever to get to the point, his motives aren’t very clear and as much as we all want to like Will Smith, he’s not a serious actor. Knowing you and your “mancrush” for Will Smith you prolly liked “Pursuit of Happyiness” too…
December 22, 2008 @ 10:39 am Loren
Wow, JerseyMike does nothing but criticize others. I am sure you do not have any opinions that are YOURS, so you go around and troll other peoples blogs.
December 22, 2008 @ 10:55 am JerseyMike
@Loren – What’s the point of a “Opinion” section of a review if you can’t provide it?
Did you hug that tree yet?
December 22, 2008 @ 11:12 am General Disdain
I appreciate your gusto, but let’s keep the attacks focused on me (or other reviewer) and not on other visitors.
For the most part, I’m not a big fan of Will Smith, but I do give credit where it is due. The movie’s success rested with Smith being able to carry the part and I felt he did a good job at it. As for the motives being unclear, that was the idea; there was a payoff in the end — whether you liked it or not is another story altogether.
January 10, 2009 @ 6:00 pm sitstayfetch
Another great movie by will smith, with out seeing it, i know its a great movie, because will smith will do a great job on all this movies
January 11, 2009 @ 11:41 am Jess
Good review. I didn’t like Pursuit of Happyness very much, it was just so sad. I agree that 7 pounds would have benefited from some trimming, just a bit too long.
July 11, 2009 @ 1:38 am Winson John
I can’t believe review made by JerseyMike where he is telling that Will Smith is not known for his serious acting. That was sad statement and I totally disagree. Will Smith was great in both Seven Pounds and in Pursuit of Happyness. Both of these movies I cherish and rate both of these movies very high.
Will Smith performed exceptionally well. For first 20 minutes or so, I never understood what is happening in the movie. I hated Will Smith character because of the way he spoke to that blind person (Woody Harrelson), but as the movie progressed I understood what he is trying to do. Ben Thomas (Will Smith) gave his own seven pounds of body to change life of six strangers and his brother.
Must see movie. My Rating: 9.5 out of 10.
July 11, 2009 @ 3:09 am Bryony
I agree with JerseyMike He made some really fair calls. Will smith did need to do the best acting to make that movie work and yer he gave it a crack but it had some holes in it… When i first viewed it nothing went in until I watched it again. It didn’t really grab me as a great movie.. Guess just yet another Media beat up bout a moive that kinda fell apart
February 18, 2012 @ 5:11 pm Nancylee
This is an extraordinary movie. I am a social worker and deal often with people contemplating suicide. I recommend this movie to my colleagues as it is a story quite different from what we are accustomed to hearing.