Reviewed byDan Grant (email@example.com)Vote: 9/10/10
Life is full of inconsistencies, and it is not without a sense of irony.There are people that have tried to make a difference in life and some ofthem have paid for it with their lives. Some that come to mind are MartinLuther King Jr, JFK, Gandhi and Terry Fox. It's not easy to change theworld. It takes a lot of hard work and determination. And it doesn'thappen overnight. But then you see a film like this and you begin toquestion that rationale. What if a concept like this really wasimplemented? What if every single person that had a favour bestowed uponthem was asked to pay it forward? Is it possible that a Utopian worldcould be achieved? I doubt it, but it certainly would go a long way tomaking this condemned world a better place to live.
I don't think this is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. Idon'tthink it is even the best film that I will see this year (although it willmake my top ten ) but the idea behind it is what has me intrigued.Believeme when I tell you this. I don't think I have ever been as emotionallygalvanized as I was in this film. There is a raw power, a truth thatringsclear in Pay It Forward and if there was one film that I would want peopleto see this year, it would be this film. It is entertaining, it issuperblyacted, and it the one true film, the one true idea that really could helpmake a positive and tangible difference in our society and ourworld.
In some circles this film has been criticized for laying on the fluff. Itis too much like a soap opera. And that is so far from the truth. Let'srecount the issues at hand and examine them. Kevin Spacey plays a burnvictim because of child abuse. Helen Hunt plays a single mom that ishavinga hard time recovering from alcoholism and has a bad case of "can't getherex-husband" out of her life and her bed. Haley Joel Osment plays a wisebeyond his years son that had to grow up precociously because of hismotherthat suffers from the above. Every character in this film, including thebit players suffers from real problems. If people have a hard timeunderstanding this then just go to an average suburban classroom in NorthAmerica and arbitrarily pick out ten kids. Chances are you will findcasesof alcoholism, child abuse, divorce and a plethora of issues that are notconducive to a healthy environment for a child. So this film is justmirroring life. That's all.
The performances by the three leads is nothing short of brilliant. Not asmuch can be said for the rest of the cast, but Spacey, Osment and Hunt allcould be nominated this year when March comes. All three bring compassionand depth to the three scarred people that they portray. But especiallyintriguing is Osment. He doesn't need to say anything in order for you tounderstand him. It's a look, a twitch, a smile, a shiver. Anything hedoeshelps us understand who he is and why he is that way. Osment is one truegifted actor and I really don't think he is going to fade away in theyearsto come like so many other child prodigies. This is the real deal. Byfollowing up Sixth Sense with a performance this real solidifies him as atrue thespian.
If you have not seen this film for whatever reason, and its box officesuggests most haven't, then do yourself a favour and take a chance on it.Not only will it do you good, it really might help change you in someways.And as Osment says in the film, maybe we may all see in some way that, "theworld isn't really s**t."
9 out of 10 ( and bring lots of tissues )
Reviewed byAl Rogerson (Neo0682@aol.com)Vote: 7/10/10
Pay It Forward is a movie that is aimed at one particular audience. Thekindof audience that expects to have their life changed as the minutes tickby.
And as a film that provides profound, poignant and tear-jerking moments,PayIt Forward will be perfect for this manner of audience. Unfortunately,harder, more expecting movie-goers will probably dismiss this movie as anoversentimental and perhaps unrealistic film.
The film is centred around Trevor (Hayley Joel-Osment). An 11 year oldboy,living alone with his dysfunctional, on-off alcoholic mother Arlene (HelenHunt). One day Trevor is set a homework assignment by his new SocialStudiesteacher, the mysterious, slightly disfigured Eugene (Kevin Spacey). Eugenesets the class a difficult task; to think of an idea that will change theworld and put it into action. Et voila!! Pay It Forward isborn.
Trevor is played with an endearing maturity and at times, unstablefrustration by uber kid actor Osment. As an aspiring actor, I worry thatan11 year old boy can grab hold of such difficult roles and make them his,while I still strive to gain my Equity card!! What Osment promised in TheSixth Sense, he shows again here with a more difficult and emotionallycharged role. Trevor is a boy not altogether happy with his life. He islacking in a father figure, his Mother struggles to have any impact on himas she juggles two jobs to make ends meet, which leaves Trevor withnothingbut his own intuition to drag him through life. For a child that can onlybeextatic and contented with HIS life, Osment does well to project such afragile character on screen.
Eugene is a character made for Kevin Spacey (although all his roles seemperfect for him). Intelligent, compassionate, slightly bitter and at timesunpredictable, Eugene is a man that we, as an audience cannot help butengage with. The dialogue written for Spacey is much better than othercharacters in the film, and he puts it to good use. Spacey is at his bestwhen doing two things; calmly and charismatically attracting attention tohimself (Ordinary Decent Criminal, Midnight In The Garden Of...), and whenhe bubbles just below the surface, inviting audiences in so that he candevastate you with a single revelation (Seven, Usual Suspects, SwimmingWithSharks). And his revelation in this film (he relives how he came to gethishorrific scars), is so vivid, so intricately and harrowingly retold thatyoucannot help but feel a tear well up in your eye.
Helen Hunt is fantastic as Arlene. Managing to achieve a look thatbizarrelymixes trailer trash, run down alcoholic with vulnerable cuteness. Shedoesn't get the pick of the dialogue however, and the role aswell as thewhole film would have been a whole lot worse off had Hunt not been on topform. You don't want her to be your Mother, but you really want to see herhappy and for her to do a good job at being Trevors.
The film falls short in little details. Supporting characters do little toaffect the story (Jay Mohr as an almost non-speaking narrator??) and thewhole thing feels flat if Spacey is off screen too long. Good actors likeJim Caviezel go almost unnoticed and you can't help but feel that a fewmorejuicy characters would help the story become a little more...cohesive.
The ending is a reinforcement of the atmosphere of the whole film. It is asequence that heightens our emotion and should set the tears rolling.
In short, see this film for three things; Haley Joel-Osment, Kevin Spaceyand Helen Hunt. All three are fantastic, and it's obvious to see why somuchOscar gossip was being spread.
If you like heart warming films with a little bit of edge, then watch on.Ifyou're expecting an original, exciting, twisty or philosophicalfilm...watchit anyway, at least the three leads are good.
Reviewed byEternianNewsVote: 10/10/10
This is one of the most moving movies that I have seen in years. Theperformances are excellent by all the cast members and the emotionaltie you develop with the characters is so amazing that you start tofeel what they are feeling and go through their good and bad times.This movie is inspiring and heart driven. I really enjoyed this moviebecause of the well written story and smoothly moving plot of thismovie. The movie does not leave you confused as to what is going on orwhy. That's why I gave this movie a 10, because it is excellent. Theodd thing is about movies, the ones that aren't really that good getthe awards, yet the really good ones never get one. I have really neverunderstood that. This movie should have been given an award.
Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.