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 just saw the movie and i think it was brilliant. I am one of those that did not understand what was going on until the end but i was completely involved in the plot and the love story. This movie made me cry and the last time I cried was The Notebook. Will Smith and Rosario did an excellent job. I must say the ending was thought provoking and confusing which led me to the internet for more info. :) but I still love it and will recommend to ALL my friends.

  2. This movie caught me at the beginning, drug for a while, lured me back in towards the late middle and blew me away at the end. I saw it two days ago and its still ringing in my head and any movie that can really cause a stir of emotion in a stiff person like my =self is a darn good movie. I thought smith and disario were both great. I just got a feeling that some activist groups are gonna flip out. Its also the first time I thought or used any brain power at the movies in quite a while

  3. I finally got around to seeing this movie yesterday. It was a nice change to use a bit of brain power to figure out what kind of secret Ben is keeping and why he is doing this for these people. I did not figure it out till the end but I did really enjoy Seven Pounds. Its not Prusuit of Happyness but it is up there.

  4. I absolutely LOVED the movie 7 POUNDS, it made me think, and at the end it made me cry. Will Smith really played his part. I give it 5 stars.

  5. Wow I must be a goof ball. I dont get the good reviews on this movie. I so agree with the critic. I consider myself very intelligent but… I mean what he did for those people was wonderful but how things played out was confusing. I love Will Smith but not sure how anyone could love the movie in its totality. That’s the beauty of individuality we don’t all have to the same thing but respect each others opinion. Happy movie watching to ALL!!

  6. If you were confused about it, then you have to watch it again, b/c the plot was awesome!

  7. Saw the movie last nite…and thought it was pretty dumb. Even brought kleenex cause I cry at commercials…and never used it once. I figured out the plot right away and then it was just a long wait for it to end. Why is it called seven pounds? and what’s up with the jellyfish? That was so stupid.

  8. Saw “7 Pounds” last night, but missed the first 5 minutes. I spent the next hour wondering if I had missed some important details. After reading these comments, I guess I didn’t miss much.

    I wondered if the “7 pounds” was a reference to the “pound of flesh” that Shylock requires of his “guilty” party in Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”. Or am I just thinking too deeply and seven pounds is how much a jelly fish weighs? ;-)

  9. This movie…. although maybe dragged out…. was amazing. It made me want to be better… and realize there are good people out there…. I think everyone should see this… maybe it will make the world a little better too….

  10. my mystery was resolved soon as i read the synopsis of the movie on IMDB i guess. so i wasn’t blind to what was going on in the movie, but i still liked it.

  11. I watched this movie last night with my 16-year-old daughter. It was a very entertaining and thoughtful movie – as long as you did not have a Christian worldview. I was very sad after watching it. Will Smith’s character plays a very sad yet noble man. My daughter cried during the movie. I did not. I could have because it was very tender and well done, yet because of my worldview centered in the Fathers will for His people, I could not cry.
    After the movie, my daughter became very angry with me because I told her why I did not cry. First of all, as many other people have written – suicide is simply wrong. It is a coward’s way out and I am appalled that Hollywood would make it seem noble.
    But the other reason I was sad is that there was no mention what-so-ever about life after death. How can we talk about death without God? When in our society have we gone to such a low? At least in the past, even though we have excluded God from our lives, most movies and real people think/talk about Him when dying. This movie did not even hint at it. And what a great opportunity it had in the redemption story – to redeem souls, not just temporary bodies! These bodies are nothing but a shell! Oh, that my daughter and others could see that!
    And of course, although Will Smith’s character is trying so hard to redeem himself of the pain he has caused so many, there is a very good chance that he will have to suffer pain for eternity because of his life lived without Christ. What a shame.
    Thank you for listening to my thoughts. God bless you!

  12. @Susanne

    My wife had the exact same reaction, so you’re not alone.


  13. @Susanne Rippey

    A lot of people don’t believe in life after death, and there are many differing opinions about faith and beliefs. I realize you have a FAITH in Christ and salvation, I have the same faith. However, I don’t see any positive way for them to portray a Christian theme in this movie, nor would it have been the right thing to do, a LOT of people don’t have that same faith we have. The movie was not aimed at Christians, and to be honest with you, most people don’t want to go to the movie to see a Hellfire and Brimstone message, I being one of them.

    Can you imagine this movie ending with a message of, “Oh people, the really important moral of this story is that Will Smith was not a Christian, and because of this, his good deeds are going to waste, because he is now going to spend eternity in hell.” People would have been FURIOUS, and absolutely resented the ideas of Christianity.

    I’m not trying to be a bad guy, I’m just stating that what you wanted out of this movie would not work. I can’t imagine that you actually went into this movie with the thought that it was going to be some kind of message about Christ and salvation, that seems highly unrealistic.

  14. Hi Jeff!

    Thanks for your opinion about Christianity and the movie. I agree with you to a point that if the movie had been made as such, it would have been terrible! You are correct – hellfire and brimstone are not the ways to draw others to Christ. Agreed.
    Yet… this is a mistake that our culture is just continuing – the mistake of leaving God out of life. The US was founded on a saving faith in God, something that you as a believer should be grateful for. I know that many people of many faiths live here, but we should not have to accomadate. That is what this country was founded upon, not Mulsim, Jewish, Hindu, athiest or any other religion. And for many, many years we have been a VERY blessed nation. Only during the past 20-50 years have we tried to exclude God and look at what is happening to us as a nation?
    Back to the movie. I just see this as a sad example of the continuing to leave our creator out of the very most important decision in our life – whether to die with or without a saving faith. As I stated before, past movies still adressed that to a small degree. Now, nothing. And I am very, very sad and afraid that others may think that ‘noble suicide’ is the way to go. It’s not.
    I think this could not have been changed to the extent you are talking about. But this CAN be an excellent discussion with others after viewing the movie.

  15. I thought the movie was amazing. And it is based on the Shakespearean idea of pounds of flesh.

    Will Smith played the role of a tortured soul perfectly. Also, his character’s form of employment called for a less vivacious more straight laced person. (I’m trying not to give away much of the movie).

    It takes more thought than the “entertain me” notion that most people take to theaters. It is like reading a good novel. Some parts drag on, others bring suspense.

    I believed the characters in this film. I could use my imagination in portions and the creative minds behind it, didn’t have to tell me everything.

    Even after I figured out the plot, I still wanted to know how the outcome developed.

  16. I am in no way trying to degrade anyone’s beliefs or thoughts but it blows my mind that people can’t see a simple movie without seeing it from a religious perspective.

    I enjoyed the movie although I too was a bit perturbed that it took so long to cut to the chase. The acting was great. After finally reaching the end of the film, I could piece together earlier events that had left me puzzled.

  17. Awsome movie!The opening scene lets us know pretty much what’s going to happen at the end so it’s not really a case of racking your brains trying to figure it out before it unfolds so you can wisper to your neighbour “I know what’s going to happen”. I was totally confused but enjoyed watching it all unfold, the way all the loose ends were tied up is beautiful. 10/10


    Glorified SUICIDE MOVIE. When you lose hope simply kill yourself for the benefit of others. When guilt gets the best of you give up hope and kill yourself.


  20. Wow! I loved this movie. I watched it twice. Great actors all around. I would recommend this movie to all my friends. It was a pleasure to watch.

  21. If you are going to write reviews, at least use standard english. The correct sentence would read the people he sought out, not seeked out. Please!!!

  22. Rose,

    You know, people like you really annoy me. Awesome, you found ONE grammatical error in a 681 word review! Bravo!

    And instead of politely pointing it out, you decided it would be better to berate me – while disregarding the content of the entire review.

    For your information, my goal is to have every article on Screen Rant published without grammatical or spelling errors, and I think I do a pretty damned good job. I run the site, write for it AND serve as editor for a half dozen writers that pump out a lot of content every day. All this in addition to working a full time job.

    So excuse me for letting one tiny little error slip through.


  23. I’m italian, and I (unfortunately) know Muccino’s work. If I could say my opinion, I deeply disapprove his perverse and viscid use of audience emotions. In “L’Ultimo Bacio” (The Last Kiss), his first movie, the main actor betrays his girlfriend (and future wife) for a young girl, but his wife, after the marriage and the discovery of betrayal, becomes as his viscid husband: a betrayer (so the message is: “eye for an eye, but never let your enemy know, regardless the fact your enemy is your partner”).
    In his second movie, “Pursuit of Happyness”, he gives the people the false illusion that hard work is enough to let your owner (white man) help you to get the “right” status in the society as a wealthy respected man (so the message is: “don’t rebel to the system, let the system screw you till the death (99,99%) or the success (00,0000001%)!”).
    This third reveals its last message: if you have guilt, then you’re guilt, then suicide yourself!!!! It’s awful, but no surprise: there is continuity with his previous movies.
    Then the progression movie by movie:
    1) If you’re guilt (and you’re NOT guilt), conceal yourself.
    2) If you’re guilt (and you’re NOT guilt), bend to the system that caused it.
    3) If you’re guilt (and you’re NOT guilt), suicide it for the good of humanity.

    Muccino: we don’t need you, but you need a good psicanalist.

  24. Good Lord, this movie was horrid! Someone took a great idea and then just ruined it! Will Smith did a great job with the horrible screen writing he had, and that was the longest two hours of my life, two hours I will never have back :(

  25. I liked the review. My only objection was the part when it was stated that Rosario Dawson “tried to hard”. I thought she played the part well. I’ve seen her in “Rent” and a couple of other movies and she has won my Oscar, lol!!!, for her role in this movie. I didn’t quite understand the movie but I did enjoy the connection between Rosario and Will Smith. They both are great actors.

  26. In my opinion the review is spot on and well said.
    And honestly, Will Smith, how COULD you make such a SAD movie, void of anything uplifting whatsoever?!!! :(

  27. Just saw this movie 2 nights ago and still cant stop talking about it. I spent half the movie crying my eyes out!

    This was a really moving story. I was one of the people who “got” it but still was glued to the screen. Definately in one of my top 10 films, next to Crash and Mystic River.

  28. Okay, so I seen this movie today. And I’m not going to lie, it was pretty boring. I nearly fell asleep! But that review was just awesome. It made me appreciate the film. Take a minute to think about the plot. It’s a real mystery film, although it takes a while to figure out what is happening. At the end I wass crying like a baby! It was so emotional, but very good. I liked this film, but I wouldn’t see it again. 2 hours isn’t really long but this movie seemed to go on forever and it was just horrible. It depends on your tastes of films wether you should go see this or not. And I thought Will Smith done great in it!