Seven Pounds Review

Published 6 years ago by , Updated January 8th, 2009 at 9:22 am,

Short version: Hey, it’s a Will Smith movie so you’ll WANT to like it – but despite a moving ending, Seven Pounds overstays its welcome.

7 seven pounds movie Seven Pounds Review
Screen Rant reviews Seven Pounds

OK, I get what they were trying to do in Will Smith’s latest film Seven Pounds… I really do. And it’s not a bad concept at all – in fact I thought it was very interesting. The problem is that over the course of two hours I felt like I had been beaten to a pulp by the idea.

The big thing with this movie is that no one knows what it’s a about – the trailer is intentionally vague and there’s a reason for that. It’s a sort of mystery, where you spend most of the movie wondering:

A. What has he done that is torturing him so.

B. What exactly is he doing for these people he’s sought out.

I’ll only go over the plot very vaguely since I don’t want to spoil any of the mystery. The film opens up with Ben Thomas (Will Smith) on the phone to 911. He is in a state of high anxiety, and at this point we don’t know where we are in the film as far as the plot (Is it a flashback? Is it taking place in real time, with the entire film’s story to follow?).

From there cut to him at his beach house – again, not a happy guy. He’s on the phone to someone by the name of Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a customer service rep at a meat company. Turns out Ezra is blind, and after a bit of semi-uncomfortable humor Ben really starts to rip into Ezra in a pretty despicable way. Ezra maintains himself and never sinks to Ben’s level, finally hanging up politely.

From there Ben goes on to see a number of people including a young boy with cancer, Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson) who has congenital hear failure, and a couple of other people. He works for the IRS and it’s weird to see him be so friendly with a smile on his face as he sits down to tell people they’re being audited.

There are many flashbacks in the film and in one of them we see that he was not always an IRS agent, but ran an aerospace engineering firm. How he got from there to his present position is one of the mysteries in the film.

Seven Pounds is all about the relationships between Ben and these people, especially Emily. Now it will depend on your outlook as to whether this is an emotionally powerful film or sappy and manipulative. The problem with this movie regardless of which of those points of view you ascribe to is that it’s just too damned long. It clocks in at two hours and the whole point of the film is the mystery, the reveal and the denoument. The thing is if you have half a brain you’ll figure out the “what he’s doing” part of the mystery VERY early on – and from there it will seem like it’s being dragged out for who the director must assume are the less bright members of the audience.

Once I figured it out the movie seemed to drag on and on, beating us over the head with more and more hints that were no longer needed. Not only is what he is up to obvious, but what will happen between him and Ezra as well. Then there’s the issue of Will Smith: He’s proven he’s a great actor, but two hours of him with basically a look of pain on his face was a bit much to take. Rosario Dawson was trying hard, but I think someone else could have done a better job in the role.

As I said, it’s an interesting concept about repentence taken to the extreme – and there won’t be a dry eye in the theater when it’s done… but by the time I got to the end my thought was “thank goodness, it’s about time.”

Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Hi
    Iam a big will smith fan. i have been waiting for this movie since two months, because i stay in India. since last 3 movies i keep crying. I can’t see if smith hurts himself. I din’t see a heartful smile of smith’s from last three movies. Will please make me laugh in your next movie.

  2. Just watched the movie and thought it was pretty good. But did anyone feel like the movie could have been improved if they didn’t show the 911 call at the start, it just made the ending so predictable.

  3. I just watched the movie and i thaught it was a pretty good one.
    My IQ could be lower than all of you, but i didnt get the mystery that early. Everything just fell into its own place in its own time. Great film, nice acting by Rosario Dawson.

  4. I enjoyed the movie. True, it can be a bit long and the emphasis on emotions can be a bother but it was unique (in my case since i haven’t seen a movie like that before).

    my interpretation of that movie is
    1. don’t text and drive(i found this one a bit comedic)
    2. enjoy the life you have. you never who gave you a second chance to live it.

    Some people think movies should be happy and uplifting but sometimes i think a movie should tell us that we can be ignorant, stupid and sometimes life comes in, kicks us in the ass and sometimes we don’t get up.

    (i know people will be commenting this saying that it was a stupid movie or its underlying meaning is so cliche and many more

    well sir, thanks for your opinion of the movie

  5. Re: Glorification of suicide
    I did not think this movie glorified suicide because suicide is a 1-way street usually meant to leave the world so you don’t have to feel pain and usually done in a least painful way (pills, hanging, shotgun).
    The message I got was the ultimate human sacrifice; Ben’s intentions were to repay his 7 debts that could only be paid back in flesh. Even the house he gave was a symbol of flesh because that is where he had all of his memories with his wife. All the other paybacks were literally flesh.
    It was selfless and the icing on the cake was the jellyfish which represented beauty and excruciatingly painful death.

  6. I actually think this is a great movie.
    and will smth and rosario dawson ave put both a great performance.
    In my opinion this movie deserves 5 stars out of 5.

  7. Sussanne Ripley has an excellent point, about the exclusion of god. Ive noticed in several films, especially will smiths latest ones, that he is not god fearing. Ive noticed this in a lot of hollywood film s of late. Clint Eastwoods character in Million Dollar Baby, and Gran Torino, is a non god fearing man. A lot of heros are dying now at the end.

    • Why should God have been included in any of these films? How would that have made the movie better?

  8. My wife & rented the movie from Redbox last night. We both enjoyed the movie very much. We each figured out different elements of the story as it progressed and there were a couple of continuity errors that were obvious some of which were explained on I understood the title when the doctors held the heart in their hands. In all of the reviews Will’s character is referred to as “Ben”. Ben was the brother who was the IRS agent. Tim was the main character who was impersonating his brother (remember the part when Ben asked Tim if he took something from his house? That was his IRS badge). This error was even shown in the ending credits. Anyway, even though there were a few technical errors (all movies have them) and the plot had a few rough spots I really enjoyed how the pieces of the puzzle fit together in the end. Some of the comments from the negative reviews show that many of those people missed some of the finer points of the movie. We were both moved to tears throughout the film and I would recommend it. One conceptual error that both my wife & I caught was that a Jellyfish sting would have made a person’s organs unfit for transplant. Oh, here are some follow-up questions; how is the woman going to pay the property taxes on the beach house on the California coast? Who paid for the transplant surgeries? And what if the boyfriend watches the movie and now knows where to find the woman & kids (oops got my realities mixed up, sorry). As I write this after reading all the comments here I realize they did a really good job on this movie because it touched everyone differently or at least revealed something of everyone’s personality. For those who thought the movie was too long I appoligize for this long winded posting.

    • i like :)

  9. We liked the movie and were touched by it. I agree, that despite Will Smith is a great actor from the past, I would have enjoyed the movie more when the main character was played by a less famous actor. This is also one of the main weak aspects of American movies, which in generally sucks, but sell good when a great actor plays it. Nevertheless the story was good and I love Rosario Dawson. I hope her heart is going strong for long!

  10. Good/great movie. I had not seen a trailer and I knew absolutely nothing about the movie except I assumed, based on some picture that I think I saw somewhere of Smith’s body and the title, that it was about weight loss. Perhaps someone trying to loose 5 pounds, but keep trying to lose more. Whatever. So yeah, it took me a little longer to figure it out…somewhere 3/4 through or something. So it kept me interested, but some of his lack of openness with Emily (and a few others) was getting on my nerves – just explain that he was in love and what had happened. Good performance though. As for the jellyfish, I was more concerned that it would cause damage to the heart with tachycardia/hypertension or the reverse, etc. I think that a jellyfish, myotoxins and neurotoxins would *not* be the best way to commit suicide and donate your organs…less violent, but more risky and painful, imho. In the end, it’s nice when you don’t get to watch trailers =)

  11. I thought it was different. I just mainly wanted to know why he was doing these things. I’d also agree with 3 out of 5 stars, maybe even 3.5. I definitely recommend to at least watch this film one time.

  12. Hey I have seen a few comments wondering about the title. The title refers to shakespeares play the merchant of Venice where Shylock trys to take a pound of flesh for payment. This is about will smiths character looking to Repent for taking the lives he did. Seven lives equals seven pounds of flesh. Thus, seven pounds.
    I really enjoyed the movie. I am an intelligent girl but I didn’t get the plot until the end, when you were supposed to. It takes an awful lot to make me cry and I bawled my eyes out…

  13. well to be honest i like will smith but im not a huge fan untill i was this film. i think he is an amazing actor and has a great gift. this film was amazing i understood it but i didnt get it to early or to late. it was just amazing it made me cry at the end. and i felt the pain threw will’s acting and that was amazing. x

  14. OK, so honestly, I figured out the whole plot and ending of the movie pretty much immediately. For me, the title ws pretty much a dead give away, especially once we see him watching/in contact with a blind guy, a guy needing a bone marrow transplant, and a girl with heart disease. But even though I knew what was going on and that he would have to die, I still really enjoyed this film…. and I usually do not enjoy dramas, and slow films in general. In fact, knowing he would have to die somehow made the fell of it all even more poignant for me… watching the relationship between him and Emily and knowing that his sacrifice was becoming more and more painful. He paid for 7 lives with his 7 pounds of flesh…. but lets not forget that one of those lives was his fiance. It seemed even more meaningful to me that one of the lives he would save, would be a woman that he loves. Indeed, he got to die for her, instead of her dying for him… which is how he saw what happened. And, indeed, he gave her his heart. I thought it was very poetic and very insightful.

  15. I just watched this movie and thought it was fanastic.Will smith is truly becoming one of the greatest actors of all time.His movie roles can vary from one extreme to the next.This movie had me blubering like a baby.I loved the plot granted it had you wondering for almost half the movie as to what was going on but i knew the ending would be worth the wait.Ive never posted an opinion of a movie on line before so i hope this explains the passion i have for this movie.So at the risk of sounding like anne wilkes from misery i think i just might be will smiths number one fan

  16. I honestly don’t understand all the negative reviews. It was quite obvious to me as well as others what was going on pretty early, but the powerful performance by Mr. Smith and his supporting cast kept me engrossed. I actually wanted to know just what happened to get him to that state, and how his relationship with Dawson’s character would develop while he knew full well he could not continue it. And finding out he actually WASN’T an IRS agent was a twist I actually didn’t see coming. I can understand some not liking it perhaps for its length. If you don’t like to sit through long character driven dramas, then you probably shouldn’t subject yourself to movies that are obviously going to be long character driven dramas. Other than that, I fail to see what was so bad about the film. I have a sneaking suspicion that the very idea of giving over your organs to someone is just too gross a concept for most people. Which, ironically, is probably why donor organs are so hard to find and make movies like this possible in the first place. :D

  17. It was a beautiful movie and I feel the critics did not sit through it and observe the beauty of the film. The end of the movie did a great job tying in the love between Will Smith and Rosario Dawson they looked at love through his eyes and heart. Besides the love, it was a profound film. A concept never portrayed in film.

  18. in my opinion, this movie was so moving, i dont think i cried this hard since titanic. it is a really long movie. however, its worth it to watch the whole movie through. the end wont disappoint you one bit. if you are not an organ donor, once you see this, you will truly be inspired to be. I never write movie reviews but i couldnt help myself. it moved me that much and it definately needs to be recognized on how good of a film it is. Very inspirational and touching without a doubt. 5 stars all the way!

  19. I believed this was actually a really interesting and touching film! I would definatly watch it a second time, I was abit confused to begin with, but all got un-ravelled. Thought it was a grwat movie to watch!

  20. It was pretty awsome, especially will smith :D .

  21. I think sometimes people just dont know how to enjoy and understand films, namely the reviewer of this film. Yes you got to understand what Will Smith's character was up to early on, I think the film would be a waste of time if you did not. The film was about living Will's emotion and understanding the emotional quandry of falling in love whilst undertaking the path he was taking. Reviewer, watch again and you may see the bits you missed, 1. relating to his status as and IRS agent? 2. that last conversation with the doctor? question? if the doctor had given a higher persentage rating what would he of done?
    This was a very well done film with a fine cast. I would call it a high class emotional artistic piece of work.

  22. I think sometimes people just dont know how to enjoy and understand films, namely the reviewer of this film. Yes you got to understand what Will Smith's character was up to early on, I think the film would be a waste of time if you did not. The film was about living Will's emotion and understanding the emotional quandry of falling in love whilst undertaking the path he was taking. Reviewer, watch again and you may see the bits you missed, 1. relating to his status as and IRS agent? 2. that last conversation with the doctor? question? if the doctor had given a higher persentage rating what would he of done?
    This was a very well done film with a fine cast. I would call it a high class emotional artistic piece of work.

  23. i personally thought that the movie had a phenominal story to it. It was a movie you actually had to sit down and get into to enjoy. Personally, WIll Smith was a great actor in the film, just like in most, and this movie deffintly had an impact on the way i live my life, even in the tinest ways. The movie was absolutely phenominal but to eachs own.

  24. Did the original person who reviewed this film actually watch it?!! Will Smith’s character is not an IRS officer he is only using the idenitity of his brother who is the actual IRS agent!! This film was beautifully written and made. Will Smith is just beyond excellent as the character who cannot live with himself for what he has done. This film’s story will stay with me for a long while, hugely emotional and definately makes you think.

  25. I have watched this film three times and I like it more and more. Yes, some things became obvious early into the film, but the subject matter and the acting were pretty good. Reason for bad reviews are probably because many people do not have the brain capacity to sit through movies that require the use of brain and emotions at the same time. These individuals are more visual and need things to be constantly blowing up, see unrealistic crashes and gun fights to keep them interested without having to use much of the brain.

    Just saying!!