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Seven Pounds: Slow and Frustrating

If you were confused by the trailer for Seven Pounds that's because the movie is mostly one long guessing game, meant to have a confusing, slow build-up to a twisty surprise ending. There seems to be such an emphasis on keeping the audience wondering what's going on, and I was frustrated not because I didn't understand the "why"s of the plot but because it's hard to care enough about these characters — even the lead played by Will Smith — to truly want to figure out what the heck's going on.

Mostly I just wished they would stop talking in gratingly general terms ("Remember that thing you took from me?" "Yes, and I remember the thing I gave you, too." "It's all about that pact we made a while ago! Remember the pact? And that other thing?"). This goes on for an absurdly long time and I just wanted to shout "Enough already! Tell us what the deal is so we can all go home!" This is not a good sign. I stuck with it until the end though, so for some of my thoughts on it all,


The movie is basically a puzzling series of events leading up to a climactic end, so in order to not spoil everything, I'll sum up the plot like this: Will Smith plays an IRS agent who carries around tremendous guilt for an event that took place years ago. So, he sets out to find redemption for the terrible thing he feels responsible for by dramatically improving the lives of seven people. When he starts to develop a relationship with one of them, Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), he finds not just redemption but the glimmer of love and hope, even though he knows it can't last forever.

In theory and perhaps on paper, the concept for this film is intriguing, and I can imagine being drawn to it as an actor or filmmaker. But something goes awry on the way to the screen. These are capable actors, Smith is fine in this role and I found his relationship with Dawson's character to be surprisingly endearing at times. There are moments of sweetness and true drama, but they are few and far between and they nearly drown amid the majority of the scenes which plod along at a glacial pace. It all errs on the side of sappy and sometimes it's downright boring. Adding to all this, there's some cheesy metaphoric stuff going on (the woman he loves needs a new heart) that certainly doesn't help the overall melodrama.

With a script like this, in which there's a series of mysterious things happening that we're supposed to be eagerly piecing together, it helps if there's something to keep us interested or if there are tense scenes alternating with the slow and quiet ones. As it is, the narrative is like a reverse death, flatlining for an hour and a half before jolting alive briefly at the end. This ending is, I believe, supposed to be hopeful and sweet in its own way — certainly redemptive. I'm just not convinced that it makes up for the previous hour and a half or so of trudging somberly along toward it.

Photos courtesy of Sony Pictures

sonya-ina sonya-ina 8 years
I loooooooved this movie, and cried like a baby.
Zephyre Zephyre 8 years
Unlike most reviewers, I didn't hate this movie...but it as terribly sad. The end hit me pretty hard...this was the first movie that ever made me cry. Looking around during the credits I suppose I wasn't the only one. The audience was full of wet eyes.
Renees3 Renees3 8 years
i didn't hate it. It was too long and slow but I really liked the idea. I knew what was going on from the very beginning for some reason so maybe that ruined it a bit for me. But I thought rosario was great.
shafiii shafiii 8 years
the movie was horrible. i hated that we didn't know what was going on, it was just dragged on for too long and guessing for that long made my interest go out the window. the movie had potential but i didn't care for it at all.
katwo katwo 8 years
*spoilers* I really liked the movie, it was intense, uncomfortable (how about the part where will smith's character was dissing woody harrelson on the phone? that was just so pitiful and wrong) and pretty sad. i loved the way the story progressed, and rosario's character was just beautiful - she was vulnerable, yearning and desperate for kindness and love, it was so human. the trouble i have with this movie is will smith's acting, he has to take it down a notch. that's it, but i loved the movie. i'll give it 4 stars :)
tepiza tepiza 8 years
I'm convinced that Rosario Dawson's a great actress after watching this movie. She stole the show, for me.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
Okay if the ending is just what I read it is, wow. That sounds awful. I think I'll just stay home and watch Pursuit of Happyness instead.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
can someone just tell me what the ending is?
PinkNC PinkNC 8 years
I didn't read all of this blog, but I'm still going to check the movie out.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
alright as much as I HATED this movie Woody Harrelson was genious in the few scenes he had.
Phil Phil 8 years
possible spoilers, nothing major First thing I want to say about this movie is that it is worth seeing once, but to watch again would be kind of excruciating. Everything about the movie was so obvious, the story ceased to be interesting, in which case I started to focus more on the individual performances and characters. I liked the idea behind this movie, and I loved Will Smith and Rosario Dawson's individual performances, but unfortunately their chemistry started strong but petered out as the movie began to focus primarily on the two. The film was in want of character development, and the fact that seemingly 90% of the film painstakingly stuck with Dawson and Smith trying to be platonic didn't help. The movie would've been better served paying equal time to Woody Harrelson's Ezra, and Barry Pepper's Dan--both great actors who are woefully underused in this flick. Even some time spent actually introducing Ben Thomas' family for the sake of pathos would've been appreciated. One of the strong points of the movie happened way in the beginning when Ben Thomas first calls Ezra--Thomas, who was able to convey warmth and compassion in one scene, cruelly and coldly (and impressively) rails the sweet and undeserving Ezra. After an hour passed from that scene, I started to pine for something more like it as nothing was able to succeed it. I felt the same way when I saw Premonition. Another movie that had a great concept and remarkable performances (well, in the case of Premonition, Sandra Bullock gave a remarkable performance), but lukewarm delivery. I'm glad I saw it, but I won't sweat never seeing it again.
cmd0610 cmd0610 8 years
I would never have seen this movie anyway bc it looks lame, but I admit I was tempted to know what it was about- so they got me there. But instead of spending money to figure that out I just went over to wikipedia and read the entire plot description :D. I guess their marketing didn't work too well hehe ;)
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Oh no, sad! I'll probably still see this because I'm intrigued and because I love me some Will Smith, but maybe now I'll wait for Netflix instead of the theater. It sounds SO frustrating to wait and wait for answers.
pinkmystic pinkmystic 8 years
awww! I'm so disappointed. I really did want to see this movie. Feel bad for Will Smith, he's such a good actor and usually his movies are so much fun to watch.
fleurfairy fleurfairy 8 years
Let me guess: Rosario Dawson's character has a terminal illness. Because she looks like crap in this movie.
nessa17 nessa17 8 years
that's such a disappointing review, but i will still go see it though. i hope i like it better.
amloveaffair amloveaffair 8 years
buuuh I give this movie 0 stars! I HATED it! hate hate hate hate haaatex100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000034585re9i1d!!!! GAAAH!
krae85 krae85 8 years
I can't help but think this film looks really boring.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
i've been hearing such mixed things about this movie and it's a shame because will smith usually OWNS this time of year with great movies and it's not like that's going to happen this year :(
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