Seven Pounds

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Seven Pounds Movie Poster Image
Melancholy Will Smith film is too intense for younger kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2008
  • 123 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Helping others is an important message for children and teens to take seriously, but purposely endangering your life in the process isn't advisable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

On the one hand, Ben is incredibly altruistic and generous, but on the other, he's also depressed, obviously suffering from post-traumatic stress and mentally unstable. Also on the up side, the movie features a diverse cast.

Violence

Disturbing glimpses of a fatal, multi-car accident are shown. A battered woman has a black eye. One character almost dies, and another character does die in a bizarre way. Ben needs a cast after smashing up his house.

Sex

A couple kisses/embraces, and another couple makes love -- thier bare backs and shoulders are visible.

Language

On the milder side for a PG-13 film, but still a couple of uses of "s--t," "hell," "ass," "goddamn," etc.

Consumerism

Featured brands include Ford, Mercury Records, Kiehl's skincare products, and Travel Inn motel.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Ben and Emily drink wine at dinner.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Will Smith + holidays usually equals blockbuster. But this drama's mysterious title and trailer may turn off younger fans who'd rather see a comedy or fantasy. And viewers in the mood for a feel-good story should look elsewhere: The movie tackles heavy themes like what it means to live a meaningful life, embracing death in the face of a terminal illness, and using grief as a motivation to act selflessly. The language and consumerism are mild, the violence is limited to (admittedly disturbing) scenes of two fatal incidents, and the sexuality is one love scene featuring a bare shoulders and backs. All of that said, the central message -- giving of yourself no matter what the cost -- may be too mature for young viewers to handle.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by4Spice October 22, 2009

lots of good points 12 and over

its one of those movies thats trying to show a good point and it did good movie truth is its kind if sad it might break your heart it all depense on you 12 and... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 12 year old Written byDebster460 April 19, 2009

Great movie for older kids...

This movie is great for older kids 13+. They would need to understand that this man cannot take back what he has done but gives totally of himself to help other... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMikaylaaMadisonn January 10, 2009
I thought that this movie was pretty good. It wasn't the best movie that Will Smith has made. I like the persuit of happyness and hancock much better. Over... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byEric Paul October 4, 2013

What's the story?

The sole survivor of a fatal car crash that killed his fiancee and six others, moody IRS auditor Ben Thomas (Will Smith) is wholly focused on finding "good people" to help in extremely personal, unbelievably generous ways -- like forgiving a beautiful-but-sick woman's (Rosario Dawson) back-taxes or giving an abused single mother his luxury beach house. He's also donating an organ to a beloved local basketball coach he barely knows. As Ben says about another possible recipient of his selflessness: "It is within my power to drastically change his circumstances." But as this mysterious drama unfolds, it becomes clear that Ben isn't exactly as he seems -- and that his purpose, while noble, is also morbid and heartbreaking.

Is it any good?

Smith usually comes through, but watching him mope around for two hours is neither believable nor inspiring. What begins as a suspense-filled drama devolves into a "very special episode" of Grey's Anatomy or ER (let's leave the spoilers at that). It's not that the cast doesn't act well, because Smith, Dawson, Woody Harrelson (a blind man Ben takes an interest in), Michael Ealy (Ben's brother), and Barry Pepper (Ben's best friend) are all talented performers. The story is the main problem -- instead of being powerful and thought-provoking, as director Gabriele Muccino aims, it's saccharine and phony.

Although Smith, a two-time Academy-Award nominee, is up to dramatic roles -- and it's understandable why he'd re-team with Muccino, his Pursuit of Happyness director -- he's built his superstardom on playing the hopeful hero. Ben is a hero, but he's so depressed (and depressing); fatalistic audiences may consider Smith miscast. Tortured and bereaved looks good on Sean Penn, Benico Del Toro, and Don Cheadle. But Smith? Not so much.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the film's emphasis on altruism. What messages does it send about generosity? Is it a positive message?

  • Was Ben saintly or insane -- or is it a little of both?

  • Families can also discuss how the movie develops as a suspenseful drama. How specifically was it suspenseful? Was the end predictable, or did it succeed in being a "big reveal"?

  • How does Smith's character here compare with others he's played? Do you prefer him in dramas or comedies/action-adventures? Why?

Movie details

For kids who love dramas

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