Seven Pounds Movie Poster Image

Seven Pounds

(i)

 

Melancholy Will Smith film is too intense for younger kids.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 123 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 19, 2008
DVD/Streaming release date:March 31, 2009
Cast:Barry Pepper, Rosario Dawson, Will Smith
Director:Gabriele Muccino
Studio:Sony Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:123 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:thematic material, some disturbing content and a scene of sensuality

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What parents and kids say

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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 others feeling this is the only way to make some sort of amends for what he has done. Will is one of my favorite actors and what a message he brings to the screen.
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 over
Teen, 17 years old Written bySeriouslytholikebrah December 15, 2014

Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat... You want some? I give it Ya...

This film is amazing, its just a pure master piece, its perfect for putting my kids to sleep when they get to hyped up. Usually the first few minutes of the film get them sleepy but some times they eat too much candy so I have to play another ten minutes of the movie, at this point it even puts me to sleep so I have to drink coffee just to make sure I can out last the kids. Seven pounds has to be the best Lullaby ever made in movie history. Its a huge seven pounds of pure shit, and its perfect. 10/0 wouldn't recommend to watch as a film.
What other families should know
Great messages