January 24, 2009

"Seven Pounds" -- Movie Review

“Seven Pounds” is designed to make you cry and, depending on who you are, it probably succeeds. It's a little hard to review a movie like “Seven Pounds,” where so much of the purpose of the movie is trying to solve the puzzle that it lays out. To be armed with too much knowledge, in this case, will do you more harm than good.

Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is an I.R.S. Agent. Ezra (Woody Harrelson)is a blind telemarketer. Emily (Rosario Dawson) is a woman with severe heart problems. Dan (Barry Peppers), a friend of Ben's seems, emotionally distraught over a deal he made with Ben. There's a social worker Holly, (Judyann Elder), who's happy to see Ben. Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), a mother trapped in an abusive relationship, wishes only to escape with her children to a new life.

Discovering who these people are and how they are connected is the joy of “Seven Pounds.” It is so integral, in fact, that I'm not sure how enjoyable the movie would be on repeat viewings. Suffice to say, if you were to ask me what the movie was about, I'd say it was about sacrifice... and jellyfish.

The movie has been charged with being manipulative, and it is unquestionably guilty. Yet, when it's done well, I have absolutely no problem with being manipulated. I don't think you will either.

/ 5

There are many movies where the overall quality is so grand and appealing that even when all the great twists have been revealed, you'd still be full-willing to watch it all over again. I had the endings of "Fight Club," "The Sixth Sense," and "The Matrix" spoiled for me before I ever saw them, but that didn't keep me from enjoying them the first time or any of the enumerable, subsequent times.

"Seven Pounds" is not any of those movies.

Not to say it's bad, but I heartily agree with Jeremiah on the point of... well, most of the things he said, to be honest. It manipulates you -- but in a charming way, as opposed to a psychotic ex-significant other sort of way. A solid story, with some top-notch talent, but it just doesn't have the clout to make it any kind of enduring classic.

"Seven Pounds" is a movie for people who enjoy feeling ways about stuff. If you tend to shun emotions, because they are for sissies and meatbags, you would likely be happier trading your money for a ticket to a different movie. If, however, you enjoy smiling and crying; stories of a more limited, human scope; and watching as pieces fit together into a full picture, this is probably just the ticket for you.

In a season of Must-See Movies, "Seven Pounds" just doesn't quite measure up. But if you've already seen the heavy-hitters, or you just want a good cry or something, you could do a lot worse.

3.5 / 5

-Thad out.

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