Parent reviews for Pay It Forward

Common Sense says

Syrupy drama has mature themes, cursing, violence.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 25 reviews
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byMom and movie lover October 12, 2010

Excellent message and move, but NOT a "Family Film"

Pay It Forward was a moving film about cause and effect and consequences. It hit home about anyone's actions causing ripples in the water of the world. If you have the chance to see this, I would recommend you do. It is a story and a concept you won't ever forget. BUT -- our DVD box on the back says "Extraordinary Family Film" NOT! It totally depends on how old your family members are!!! I would say anyone below 14 shouldn't see it. There is alcoholism, drugs, violence, bad language, and sexual situations. The ending would not be one a younger child could handle. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER What I think would most disturb any younger viewers though is the fact that the boy this story is about is killed at the end. It was incredibly emotional for the 3 adults I watched this with and there is no way our children could have handled this hopeful story with this sad end. Though the point is poignantly made about this boy's effect on the world, it is a hard ending to take.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Positive Messages
Adult Written byhs_teacher/parent February 14, 2012

Great message for everyone, but movie not made for children!!!

Justice to one person can have an impact on not only the individual but on the world in ways unimaginable. It is the chain reaction of treating others with dignity and love. However, as positive as the message it, it is couched in horrible language, drugs and alcohol, sex outside of marriage as a norm. The strip bar scene at the start should be enough for any parent/educator to realize this is not meant for children and highly cautioned against teenagers. The violence (description of parental abuse and school bullying) is understandable as closely tied to the plot. Nonetheless, the positive message of kindness to another is wonderful, just not worth showing children.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written bybeckykay733 November 21, 2011

Pay It Forward Review

Rebecca Varberg Professor Jossart English 110 November 7, 2011 Pay It Forward The world is a large place with millions of different kinds of people. Some are good and some not so much. Sure chances of changing the world are pretty slim, but what if one person tried. If that one person was successful in helping someone else and it then caused that person to help other people, maybe changing the world would be possible. Could this be realistic or will people just remain the same as they are today? A young boy, Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment), who is troubled by his alcoholic mother, Arlene McKinney (Helen Hunt), and fears his abusive absent father, Ricky McKinney (Jon Bon Jovi), is working on his social studies assignment. This assignment is extra credit and asks the students to think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor comes up with the plan to do a favor for three people in need, but instead of those people returning the favor back to him, they pay the favor forward to three different people in need and it keeps building from there. The people that Trevor picked were a drug addicted homeless man, Jerry (Jim Caviezed), his emotionally scarred and burned social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet (Kevin Spacey), and a class mate that was always being bullied, Adam (Marc Donato). Trevor doesn’t think that his three people paid the favor forward, so he believes his project was a complete failure. Although throughout the movie you see that reporter, Chris Chandler (Joy Mohr), is slowly tracing this successful story back to Trevor. Trevor would not be able to see much of his accomplishment with this project because at the end of the movie, Trevor dies by being stabbed by another student, who is bullying Adam. This movie is the perfect example of how a movie should be; it makes you laugh, cry a lot, and it is something that stays in your heart and keeps you thinking for weeks afterwards. This movie seems realistic when it comes to the problems faced by people in everyday life. These real life problems that affect everyday people are alcoholism, divorce, drug addictions, child abuse, and so much more. If you were to go into any classroom and talk to ten to twenty students, you would probably find students that are facing these problems at home. This is an extremely horrible thing that children have to deal with and I think that people sometimes just look the other way and try to ignore it. Movies like this will hopefully open people’s eyes and they will learn that they can do something to help. This movie shows that it takes one person to start a movement to change someone’s life for the better. The part of the movie that was unrealistic is changing the world. Yes, one person can make a difference, but they cannot change the word. The movie shows that Trevor’s plan to “Pay It Forward” works, but it is a movie. In real life, I could not picture people doing the favors that were done in this movie, for example the first favor you see is someone giving away their Jaguar car to the reporter, after the reporter’s car is damaged. It would be wonderful if “Pay It Forward” could happen, but it is highly implausible. The world would be a beautiful place if only people would be willing to help each other and not expect a favor back. I never heard of this movie before, up until a couple weeks ago when a friend came over and suggested we watch the movie. I now would recommend everyone to watch it. It may not have the happiest ending, but it shows that one person can make a difference no matter what their age. Some one that is in their teens could impact the world just as much, if not more, than someone in there fifties.
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

Excellent movie with a good world view

This movie is based on a true story, which makes it better.
Adult Written bywonder dove May 19, 2012

One of the greatest films ever!

One of my all-time favorite films! It's a beautiful story about a pre-teen (age 11) who takes his social studies assignment very seriously, to see what he could do to change the world. He creates a fantastic plan to have people pay it forward by doing good for at least 3 people and those three people have to do something good for three more...and so on. He changes not only others' lives but also his own. A brilliant idea for a movie that's very very over-looked and underestimated. If only our world could really be like that! Very emotional, sad but also smart, happy & heartwarming. Some violence (like stealing, running from cops, teen bullying), drug use by a street "thug", lots of drinking because the mother is an alcoholic (and the ex-husband), some language to watch out for - and strip club scenes with women dancing (no nudity) and flirting, also an innocent off-screen sex scene. Nothing too inappropriate here! It's a beautiful story about real life situations, don't miss it!!!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byCollegiateGirl December 3, 2011

Not For Kids

I feel like the positive message of this movie, paying it forward, is lost in the sea of inappropriate content. The relationship between the teacher and mother seemed out of place (from a writer's perspective), and was inappropriate for kids to be witnessing. I am a 22-year old college student, and I was shocked at what they put in there. The language was really rough and suggestive. This is not a kid movie, or a teen movie; this is an adult movie. Parents can summarize the idea of paying it forward to kids, but this is really not a good one to let them watch.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byd_c022 August 15, 2015

11 year old kid

parents get drunk multiple times. Trevor is viciously stabbed. and s*** is usually dropped at least every five minutes. but you are missing the point there is a great message you can change the world if you are big or small. and the teacher and trevor both make great role models. This is the saddest yet best movie I've ever seen

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byYoung mother of 2 January 18, 2012

Great Movie!

I think this is a great movie! Its definately an eye opener. Very sad at some points and inteligent at others. I suggest viewing this movie as it is one of the best I've ever seen..

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written byMacPippy July 18, 2010

better for slightly older kids - teens upwards

watched this with our 9 & 11 yr olds. 9 year old prob a bit young. had lots of questions about why does everyone drink in it; the way the film runs 2 parallel stories (trevor & the pay it forward story lines) was a bit lost on him. the stabbing upset him good bit, so in hindsight, was probably a too mature for him; talked about the pay it forward concept afterwards with him to try and lighten the mood for him. good movie. love the concept.

This title contains:

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult Written byMohamed A. February 26, 2017

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byJaxLogan November 4, 2018

Not a family movie

Unfortunately the trailer was very misleading. It looked like a movie with a great message but it was not for 12 year olds. Alcoholic mother, several druggies, and the hero, who dies in the end. The message of the movie could be interpreted as "try to help others, and you get yourself killed". I wouldn't recommend it for family movie night.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking