Seven Pounds
Our Rating
1½ Stars - Weak
Average Rating
 
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Mpaa Rating
PG-13 (for thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality)
Genre
Directed By
Gabriele Muccino
Run Time
2 hours 3 minutes
Cast
Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy
Theatre Release
December 19, 2008 by Sony

Movies often go into production years before they hit the theaters. So it's unlikely that when the makers of Seven Pounds could have predicted the economic crisis that would be facing the moviegoing public when they released their film. If they had, they might have thought twice about sending their bleak tale of remorse and death out into the world at this moment. A little Hollywood-style escapism seems in order, no?

That said, it's hard to imagine that even the roundest days of the housing bubble would have made the audience more amenable to this muddled story of one man searching for redemption in the wake of an automobile crash he caused that resulted in the death of seven people, including his fiancée. "In seven days God created the world. In seven seconds I shattered mine," Ben Thomas (Will Smith) tells us early on in the movie. And two hours later, that still pretty much sums things up.

Seven Pounds is Smith's latest collaboration with Pursuit of Happyness director Gabriele Muccino. Both movies provide the erstwhile Fresh Prince the opportunity to show us his formidable dramatic chops and demonstrate that he can wear a suit well. But whereas Happyness was a sort of capitalistic fairytale (couldn't we use one of those about now?) that attempted to point at both the promise and peril of life, Seven Pounds shackles the viewer to a profoundly traumatized man whose perspective on life is as wrecked as the cars in the middle of the road that tragic night.

The narrative is maudlin, pulling out all the tearjearking stops to suck the viewer into Ben's tragic world. In his quest for redemption—a plan that involves sussing out a few good people on whom to bestow gifts—Ben connects with a neglected nursing home patient, ...

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