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Seven Pounds

A 2008 drama film starring Will Smith directed by Gabriele Muccino.

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Seven Pounds of melodrama and boredom. 15%

  • Jul 4, 2011
Warning, this review contains spoilers.

I got to watch this for free, so at least I won in the fiscal department, but too bad this movie ate up two hours of my life I could have spent doing something more useful like drawing or playing Borderlands.


Seven Pounds is about an IRS agent named Ben Thomas (Will Smith), whose going around finding seven people he truly thinks are good people, so that he can give them life-altering "gifts" to make their lives much better in an attempt to make up for a horrible tragedy he caused in the past.


Grant Nieporte (writer) and Gabriele Muccino (director) were trying way too hard to make this movie "sophisticated" by plotting it in a non-linear fashion, but the problem is that they did it very, very terribly. The movie starts off with Ben calling 911 and reporting himself as a suicide victim, so right then and there, we know that he's going to commit suicide, and the movie hints that Ben instigated a tragedy with shots of newspaper clippings about a fatal car crash and of Ben spending time with a joyous young woman, and of a childhood flashback when we're introduced to the box jellyfish. Granted, the Studio Ghibli animated film Grave of the Fireflies opened up with the death of a main character, but GOTF is many worlds better because of the lifelike characters and much better plotting as to where each second of screentime is essential. The average Joe will be blown away by this lazily-made puzzle-like plotting (look at the unfortunately large amounts of praise this movie got on IMDB), but folks like myself who actually THINK about what they're watching will be unimpressed. Because all of these "hints" are done in the first 30 minutes, it's pretty easy to put all the pieces together after that, then we have to wait another 90 minutes to see our predictions come to the screen. I promise you that you'll be bored to death during those remaining 90 minutes due to the poorly-written characters and ridiculous events that keep you from being at all engaged.


I feel many of the characters in Seven Pounds are badly written. Ben is supposed to be mysterious to us, but in the first 10 minutes or so, I immediately knew that he was hiding something dark due to the frequent scenes of him brooding and exploding in anger. Also, I felt that the chemistry between Ben and Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson) was very contrived. At first, Ben is basically stalking her in the hospital and even starts feeding her dog Duke behind her back, and Emily doesn't even bother threatening Ben to call the police on him. Also, we're supposed to believe that Ben thinks Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson) is a good man by "testing" him with a ruthless slander attack over the phone whilst Ezra was on the job as a meat salesman. Ezra retains his positive attitude as Ben verbally attacks him, but anyone whose worked in customer service knows that they have to put on a phony happy face to vile customers lest they want to get fired, so Ben's "test" on Ezra really had no bearing to Ezra's real character. Also, Emily has to be pretty careless for a woman with a failing heart because there's a scene towards the end where Ben and Emily have sex (of course, presented in a way suitable for a PG-13 rating). The only character that felt realistic (at first, for a while) was the abused Mexican woman because when Ben approached her, she at least caught on to his creepiness and told him to get out of her house.


Don't expect much subtlety in Seven Pounds as this movie is so overwrought with emotion and drama that it'll make anyone who truly respects film cringe until they get facial spasms. There's plenty of scenes consisting of Ben squirting tears and brooding about the darkness lurking inside of him, and there's plenty of overdone musical scores being played over the already melodramatic scenes (such as Ben killing himself with a jellyfish) that makes them even more eye-rolling and groan-inducing than before.


Aside from the previously-stated scene of Emily and Ben having sex despite Emily having a failing heart, there's plenty of other scenes in how goofy they are compared to real life. For example, at the end, Ben kills himself with a box jellyfish. Given that he wants to donate his organs to make a select group of peoples' lives better, it makes absolutely no sense that he'd get his body pumped with toxins from the jellyfish because the toxins would render the organs useless for donation. Also, Ben gives the abused Mexican woman his beach house (which is large and luxurious); I hope that he paid off that house because there was no way that woman could pay for a house like that. Heck, even if the house was paid off, I doubt she could pay for the energy bills it'll accumulate. Ben also takes his little brother's identity as an IRS agent (it's at this point that Ben is really Tim, and that his little brother is the "real" Ben). Wouldn't the IRS have caught on about a man impersonating an IRS agent or even his brother finding out about it quicker and reporting this extreme felony to the authorities? A critical reviewer pointed out that suicide cases require forensic autopsies according to US law, and after doing some researching on that, his point was confirmed. After that little round of researching, I can safely confirm that Ben/Tim's suicide would have helped none of the people he wanted to help as the autopsy would have rendered his organs useless if the jellyfish venom didn't. If Nieport and Muccino wanted to make a believable movie, maybe they should have done some research on such subjects like suicide cases as to not look so preposterous. On top of the fact that suicide cases require forensic autopsies, Ben/Tim's lawyer and friend, Danny (Barry "Battlefield Earth ruined my career" Pepper), would have quickly informed Ben/Tim that his body would have been autopsied after he killed himself (unless if Danny is a really bad lawyer). To top it off, after all the "worthy people" get their gifts from Ben/Tim, it's supposed to be a "happily ever after" for all of them. Maybe that's believable for Ezra as he barely interacted with Ben/Tim, but the fact that Emily doesn't spiral into manic depression over the fact that the man she loved killed himself so that she could live, is mind-bogglingly ridiculous. She'll have to live with that guilt for the rest of her life.


At the end of the day, Seven Pounds tries way, way too hard to be dramatic, moving, intellectual, and profound...and fails miserably at its goals. If you excuse me, I'm going to go watch some episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air for a delightfully cheesy nostalgic Will Smith experience.

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More Seven Pounds reviews
Quick Tip by . September 09, 2011
Odious movie where a man mopes about something horrible that happened and seeks atonement. Sure Will gives it his all but you can say that about a lot of things.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The film was very eye opening and sad. Loved Will's performance
review by . July 05, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
On the one hand, this is an excellent film, with a fabulous message. On the other hand this film is a mess.     The wonderful part, certainly can't give away the surprise - so much of watching this film is unravelling what is going on. There's clues, and things make complete sense at the end. The film is about an IRS auditor that has flashbacks to the death of his wife. He's clearly very troubled and has chosen a number of people to audit closely, either being nice to them when …
review by . June 14, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
I've watched dozens of movies over the past year and frankly can't remember most of them. "Seven Pounds" isn't one of those forgettable movies. I can't reveal too much of the plot, but I will say it is unlike any other movie you've seen. At it's heart, it is about how a man tries to turn his despair into healing for others. In a way, it is the "Count of Monte Cristo" in reverse.     Will Smith, who has grown immeasurably as an actor, gives a powerful performance. He really seems …
review by . December 24, 2009
Pros: Well-written and powerful script; med chemistry between Smith and Dawson; well acted     Cons: None     The Bottom Line: See Seven Pounds!              Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. "In seven days, God created the world and in seven seconds I shattered mine." So goes the opening line to one of actor Will Smith's (Ali, Men in Black, I Am Legend) most …
review by . April 02, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
7 Pounds is truly the best film I have seen this year. It is perfect on every level which is something that is hard for any reviewer to admit. The film is plain and simple and even though it was darn near predictable it was done beautifully. Will Smith plays an IRS agent by the name of Ben Thomas. It's odd because Ben goes around helping people for no reason but he carries a depressed look in his face. The entire film the mystery is, what the heck is he doing?     Within the …
review by . May 22, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Seven Pounds is the Star Trek of melodrama. It's every bit as much science fiction. The problem is that, in Star Trek or Harry Potter or Pan's Labyrinth, to name a few films not couched in reality, impossibility can be accepted as part of the artistic contract between the maker and the viewer. "Seven Pounds" offers no such contract; it's presented in the cinema language of realism, of real life emotions and motivations. It strives to tug your heart strings... and the snarky humor of that cliché …
review by . May 11, 2009
Will Smith stars as Ben Thomas, a man trying to resolve a past tragic mistake by impersonating an IRS agent, which grants him access to seven different people, each needing something he feels he can give them. It's hard to write this review without giving away some important information, but suffice it to say Smith is outstanding in this role. The angst he feels is so incredibly shown, on his face, in his voice, in his body language, it brought tears to my eyes just watching him. The ultimate choiced …
review by . January 24, 2009
Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Will Smith stars in a blockbuster movie that's not released in the summer   2. If you didn't like him in Pursuit of Happyness, you won't like him in this one   3. If you can survive the rather boring first section, you'll get by just fine with the rest.   4. Essentially, Will's character is working on atonement for a momentary lapse of concentration two years prior to the events of this movie.   5. …
review by . February 19, 2009
I went to see Seven Pounds last night. It was a pretty good movie, except my mom guessed the meaning of the title before we went, and thus, I knew the entire time what was going on. Don't let your mom tell you what she thinks a movie is about, most likely she will be right.    There has always been a little part of me who has wanted to be the person who chooses songs for movies. I am still trying to figure out how I could get that job…    Anyway, as cliched as it is, the Garden …
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David Kozak ()
Ranked #20
I'm a morbid cynic who thinks very, very differently from most other people. Chances are, if the majority says X is the greatest in its category, I'll disagree with that notion, because I tend … more
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About this movie


Seven Pounds is a 2008 film, directed by Gabriele Muccino. Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, and Barry Pepper also star. The film was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on December 19, 2008 by Columbia Pictures.
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Director: Gabriele Muccino
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Grant Nieporte
DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
Runtime: 123 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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