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. I liked this review. It didn’t say anything other than the mystery is obvious. I have my guess but I won’t spoil it for anyone. If I’m right, then yep it’s pretty obvious. What a depressing concept for a movie.

  2. The mystery was easy to figure out I will give you that but I still found it to be a great film. I didnt think it was to long or dragged out. I would of given it 4 stars. It certainly shouldn’t be given the same amount of stars than what was given to Punisher by this site.

  3. I might see this one after the holidays but I think two hours isn’t too long for a movie. I think it is just the right amount of time.

  4. @Daniel F
    Guess what? I’m being WAY more generous than most reviewers out there – the average on Rotten Tomatoes is about 2/5 and on Metacritic it’s less than that. My rating of PWZ was based on my finding it entertaining.

    @Jess H
    I didn’t say two hours is too long for a movie – I said it was too long for THIS movie. :-)


  5. Vic, im sorry but you lost all credentials when you said you didnt enjoy AVP:R :)

  6. @Oscar

    LOL, actually someone recently told me I lost all credibility when I said that I thought that Death Race was awesome. 8-)


  7. I sometimes forget that RT is the end all be all of movie critics. It is the holly grail. I mean it must be the way everyone uses it as a source. I sometimes get confused though even though RT is godly as a movie critic whats the percent that matters? Is it the over inflated ego critics who think they know more than all ? (Dosn’t apply to you guys you guys are way more down to earth.) Or is it the general public who buy Briney Spears albums and watch movies like Twilight and Larry the Cable guy flicks?

    If I’m not mistaken the public has given it an 83%.

  8. @Daniel F

    Sigh… it’s not the “end all be all,” it’s just a consensus. They have the “cream of the crop” score and the more general reviewers score. It’s great as a general gauge of whether a movie is worth checking out or not.

    I don’t always agree with the consensus, but generally anything over 50% there’s a very good chance I’ll like it. :-)

    BTW, so you think the general public that buys Britney Spears albums and is giving it 83% is a better indicator than reviewers on RT? 8-)


  9. I think the general public is neither better nor worse as an indicator. My point is that the so called “top critics” and the general public are very far apart on this one. My point is also that neither one of them are good indicators of anything because as you your self likes to point out fairly often we are all individuals with their own special opinions. With the critics and public in that big of a disagreement maybe this is one of the films that you can really only judge by seeing for your self and not using RT as a valuable source. I hate RT for the way it’s used. The public has ruined that site. By it’s self it’s a good tool and site, but the people have destroyed it by always using it as a source of some kind of proof of a movies value. In my opinion it’s no better off than IMDB.

  10. @Daniel F

    I hear what you’re saying – in our “About Us” page I point out that my movie reviewing philosophy is more targeted towards helping the average person decide whether to drop their hard-earned money on a movie or not, moreso than whether a film is “cinematically excellent.”

    I do believe that (for my tastes) it’s a far better indicator of whether I will like a film than IMDB – NO contest. IMDB is the sort of place people flock to and say that “Transformers” or “Eagle Eye” was like, TOTALLY awesome. 8-)

    I actually think that RT gives a pretty balanced view of a movie as a whole. Compared to Metacritic which I think is more about the highbrow sort of review.


  11. Meh I guess we will have to disagree on RT then to me it’s no better than Meta or IMDB. I use IMDB for it’s movie info I don’t ever use meta or RT because they are garbage as far as I’m concerned. I just found this film to be well done. It wasn’t a masterpiece nor was it an amazing film. I think it was better than 3 out of 5, but what bugged me the most is that it’s the same score you gave punisher which was terrible. I realize you say you rate them on different scales, but it really doesn’t work out well when you do that. It creates confusion. I hated transformer and what I don’t get is that you seemed to dislike it as well yet you enjoyed Punisher. I thought Transformers was one of the most terrible films I’ve seen in years and i thought Punisher was even worse.

  12. @Daniel F

    Well film IS a subjective medium. I score movies the way I score them. My personal tastes and views inform my movie ratings – I don’t apologize for that… it’s just my way of reviewing films.


  13. i have not shed a tear for a movie since bambi’s mother died. way to go will smith. hats off to the writers. 5 stars, should win every thing!!!!!
    thanks sony
    saint augustine fl

  14. Wow. I never take the time to write reviews and I really like Will Smith, but this film was awful. The whole premise was farfetched and contrived. It took 30 minutes to figure what was happening. And once I did, I didn’t care. Yes the actors are good to look at it, but this movie just left me bland. I should point out that I easily become emotional at movies, and although there were a few tears, the ending left me feeling more sorry for myself then the characters in the film. Don’t waste your money.

  15. I think that this movie was GREAT! I will take my hat off to all the actors and producers. You come out a better person, after seeing this movie. A note to all, bring a box of Kleenex.

  16. wasnt entertined to much by this movie :(

  17. The movie was one of the best i have ever seen.
    Not slow, but gripping, unless you read one of these sites that gives it away.
    AND they do. Lickily, I did not want to know much about it. It is gripping and a bit suspenseful. Plus it is beautiful in all respects.
    I hope some type of Oscar goes to it.
    It is worthy of Mystic River, Sophie’s Choice, Shawshank redemption type of awards.
    It is a thinking/feeling movie, not a freakin’good guy bad guy trip.
    It is easily, a top three of the year.
    I almost cried on the way home.

  18. Wife and I were Kids free and decided to watch the movie for our date night. We hadn’t seen a movie in a LONG time. I wished she would have picked another movie. This thig was very confusing and the acting was very poor. At the end we can hear other people complain too. I am a BIG Will Smith fan but this one is rotten.

  19. I love Will Smith but I am sad to say that this moving just was not good at all. There is so much I can say but I am sooooo said that this movie was a bust. Hopefully Will can make it up in the next one. NOT GOOD AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. I love Will Smith but I am sad to say that this movie just was not good at all. There is so much I can say but I am sooooo sad that this movie was a bust. Hopefully Will can make it up in the next one. NOT GOOD AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Once again Hollywood gets it wrong. This was worst sugar-coated ending I have ever seen. Anyone with a ounce of intelligence would know that this is a dangerous film to glorify. Will’s character was anything but altruistic. And Woody Harrelson’s character: an insult to blind people anywhere.

  22. edited:
    Once again Hollywood gets it wrong. This was the worst sugar-coated ending I have ever seen. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would know that this is a dangerous film to glorify. Will’s character was anything but altruistic. And Woody Harrelson’s character’s decision is an insult to blind people anywhere.

  23. I think this movie would have been more “enjoyable” if the audience had more information in the beginning instead of waiting for the last half hour. At first I was just plain confused. Then I was like “ok, maybe this is what’s happening” or “I’ll bet this is what happened”. I don’t want to have to think that much at a movie! LOL I went to see it because Will Smith is always a good bet and while I liked the movie when it was all said and done, I just think it could’ve been told differently.

  24. Went to see the movie on Christmas night – although the premise/ending was a little depressing I enjoyed the movie. Sorry, but I guess I don’t have “half-a-brain” like some reviews indicate and did not catch on until the end. I am glad I was not given more “hints” at the beginning as the movie kept me glued to my seat. I am sick of 90 minute movies that don’t have 45 minutes of plot/things to think about – 7 Pounds delivers plenty to keep me interested until the end. Sometimes I wonder why some people even go to movies – they just seem to want to complain – why not just stay home and watch a few more hours of CNBC or CNN or some reality show. Will SMith is a talent!

  25. @Jeff

    I do enjoy movies, that’s why I run a movie site. Want examples? Check out my 4 and 5 star movie reviews.


  26. Vic –

    Since you see so many movies you probably get the plots sooner than most – but there is no need to refer to us less frequent movie goers in the following way:

    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.

    By not knowing so early on I did not feel dragged thru the movie – I liked it and it made more sense at the end – I will probably buy the DVD for our guests to see to and for me to watch again.

    I enjoyed your review – but would have loved it more if you didn’t look down upon us “mentally challenged” folks who are the ones who pay for the movies to be made and enjoyed.

    It reminded me of Crash in some ways without the profanity.

  27. @Jeff

    Sorry, bud. That was intended as a slam on the movie, not viewers. Both my wife and I “got it” very early on, as have the majority of people who’ve seen it based on what I’ve read.

    Let’s call it even based on your first comment as a response to my review. :-)



  28. i saw the movie,is beautifull,but beeiond what you see,is more interesting…a movie critic will understand better

  29. like i sad,i loved the movie,will smith was perfect for the roll,there are sceens from the movie who could revolutionise the cinematography….. i just seen what peope posted and isss verry sad that they don’t appreciete,i guess crap movies are selling better