Movie Review: Seven Pounds

Published by Clay Cane on Friday, December 19, 2008 at 12:06 am.

Summary: An emotionally distraught man tries to redeem his life by doing extreme good deeds for strangers.

Review: The good, Will Smith is a brilliant actor.  The bad, Seven Pounds isn’t nearly as brilliant as Will Smith.  Seven Pounds is one of those oddball movies that have all of the elements of a stellar film — high budget, amazing cast, and a talented director (Gabriele Muccino who directed Smith’s Oscar-nominated role in Pursuit of Happyness).  However, even with its lofty symbolism of jellyfish, health issues, and sibling drama — the pounds just don’t quite add up.

Currently, Seven Pounds is thriving off its mystery, which might be the biggest flaw.  Marketing the “mystery” of Seven Pounds sets the viewer up for a completely different experience and will leave some disappointed.  Imagine going to see Soul Plane and you thought it was a story about the Tuskegee Airmen!

About thirty minutes into Seven Pounds the mystery is dead.  No extreme twists.  No shocking revelations.  No new plot line that we haven’t seen before.  Nonetheless, if you are watching with an open mind, this doesn’t kill the film.  While it may not be what you expected, it is surely a movie you can enjoy — even though you might have a bout of depression afterward.

Thankfully, the always consistent Smith delivers as Ben Thomas, a tortured man who is trying to compensate for the voids in his fleeting life.  Smith is restrained, cool, and passionate.  He tells the story with his eyes and you don’t see remains of his other emotionally torn characters (you know Big Willie wants that Oscar!).  The former Fresh Prince carries the film, doing his best to make it work and sometimes succeeding.

Rosario Dawson gives her strongest performance to date.  She has an innocent chemistry with Smith that channels legendary medical tearjerkers like Untamed Heart and Dying YoungSeven Pounds finds its niche when focusing on Dawson and Smith’s characters.  When the storyline expands to needy strangers across Los Angeles, the viewer gets lost in what feels like a series of Lifetime Television specials.  But, who doesn’t enjoy a good Lifetime movie?

Seven Pounds wants to be amazing, thought-provoking, and to assure us that we all have a purpose.  Unfortunately, it’s a message that we have all heard before and the film doesn’t tell it in a new way. Seven Pounds is not a movie you will fall in love with, but it definitely isn’t a movie you will hate.

Seven Pounds is in theaters today.

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