• PG-13, 2 hr. 3 min.
  • Drama, Romance
  • Directed By:
    Mimi Leder
    In Theaters:
    Oct 20, 2000 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 15, 2001
  • Warner Bros. Pictures

Opening

61% The Maze Runner Sep 19
63% A Walk Among the Tombstones Sep 19
45% This Is Where I Leave You Sep 19
83% Tracks Sep 19
93% The Guest Sep 17

Top Box Office

11% No Good Deed $24.3M
71% Dolphin Tale 2 $15.9M
92% Guardians of the Galaxy $8.1M
19% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $4.9M
20% Let's Be Cops $4.4M
88% The Drop $4.1M
37% If I Stay $3.9M
36% The November Man $2.8M
34% The Giver $2.6M
67% The Hundred-Foot Journey $2.4M

Coming Soon

68% The Equalizer Sep 26
71% The Boxtrolls Sep 26
86% The Two Faces of January Sep 26
—— Two Night Stand Sep 26
91% Jimi: All Is by My Side Sep 26

New Episodes Tonight

82% Girl Meets World: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
50% Z Nation: Season 1

Discuss Last Night's Shows

100% Garfunkel and Oates: Season 1
—— Haven: Season 5
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
56% Married: Season 1
39% Rush: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
79% You're the Worst: Season 1

Certified Fresh TV

87% Boardwalk Empire: Season 5
86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
91% Doctor Who: Season 8
83% Extant: Season 1
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
90% Outlander: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
79% You're the Worst: Season 1

Pay It Forward Reviews

David Ansen
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic
March 31, 2008
Derek Adams
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic
February 9, 2006
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spacey and Hunt create interestingly layered characters who are hiding parts of themselves from themselves. And come Oscar time, Osment once again may be saying, 'I see tuxedoed people.'

Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 6, 2002
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Less a worthy achievement than a nice try.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

March 22, 2002
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With its smorgasbord of moralizings, Pay It Forward is a confusing welter of sentiment.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

June 25, 2001
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not since Gump has there been such a pandering, faux-virtuous package of populist pap for Hollywood to shove in the faces of electioneering politicos and say: Look, we don't just market unwholesome swill to families, we market wholesome swill, too.

| Original Score: 0.5/5

June 4, 2001
Paul Tatara
CNN.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Has to be the most oppressive 'feel good' picture in movie history.

Full Review Source: CNN.com

January 1, 2000
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As it stands now, Pay It Forward winds up making a very good case for never going out of your way to help anybody.

January 1, 2000
John Anderson
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Keeps zigging and zagging between plots and subplots that don't really matter.

January 1, 2000
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Full Review Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News | Original Score: C

January 1, 2000
Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a pretty nice movie until, like a Ponzi plan, it collapses.

January 1, 2000
Todd McCarthy
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Osment truly is as good as it gets where kid thesps are concerned.

Full Review Source: Variety

January 1, 2000
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Wants so badly for us to feel something -- inspired, teary, shocked -- that it leaves us merely numb.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle

January 1, 2000

Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic
January 1, 2000
Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result is about as organic as a pink Hostess Snowball.

January 1, 2000
Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Has all the elements of a satisfying movie except knowing when to stop. The rest is good enough, however, that it will do.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

January 1, 2000
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It tells a story that audience members will want to like, but it doesn't tell it strongly and cleanly enough; it puts too many loops into the plot, and its ending is shamelessly soapy for the material.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 2.5/4

January 1, 2000
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The combination of restrained writing and direction and top-of-the-line acting is enough to make even confirmed agnostics want to believe in this unashamed fairy tale.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

January 1, 2000
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Inspirational Oscar-bait undermined by bad casting.

January 1, 2000
David Germain
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Worthwhile for the performances.

January 1, 2000
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The idea is simple, sweet and catchy, like a pop song, and Pay it Forward is almost as irresistible as Trevor's idea.

January 1, 2000
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Unceasingly manipulative.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: D

January 1, 2000

Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic
January 1, 2000
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Offers more potential than payoff.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: C+

January 1, 2000
Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The three principals have been encouraged to recycle their recently acclaimed performances and, when at a loss for something to do, to fall back on their specialty acts.

January 1, 2000
Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

No wonder Arlene keeps a bottle of vodka in the chandelier. You would too with this demonic, passive-aggressive, New Age munchkin trying to run your life.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

January 1, 2000
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Toploaded with manipulative schmaltz, star-turn moments, intentionally unflattering makeup, unbelievable plot twists and just plain twaddle.

Full Review Source: Denver Post

January 1, 2000
Philip Wuntch
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The year's most manipulative movie.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News

January 1, 2000
Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tissues or barf bag, take your pick. Personally, I was glad I grabbed a handful of concession napkins. Judging by the chorus of sniffles, I wasn't alone.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

January 1, 2000
A.O. Scott
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

So enamored of its own upbeat view of human nature that it expects you to overlook its stick-figure characters, its creaky plot machinery and its remorseless assault on your tear ducts.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 2/5

January 1, 2000
Erik Lundegaard
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hard-hearted critic that I am, I even found tears welling up near the end. But it's dishonest in its execution, and a tad dull after a promising beginning.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times

January 1, 2000
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hollywood feel-goodism at its best (or worst, depending on your Patch Adams tolerance quotient).

Full Review Source: Washington Post | Original Score: 2.5/5

January 1, 2000
Kevin Maynard
Mr. Showbiz
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite being full of Oscar-winning talent, this is still just a better-dressed, drawn-out episode of Touched by an Angel.

January 1, 2000
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's carried to an amazing degree by its performances.

January 1, 2000
Sean Means
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If a movie can coax tears out of me, touch me in a way that the tears flow naturally, more power to it. But stealing my tears by beating me over the head with manipulated schmaltz is a cheat.

January 1, 2000
Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the concerted efforts of its Oscar pedigree cast to keep it real, Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and impressive young Haley Joel Osment unfortunately find themselves smothered by the schmaltz.

January 1, 2000
Susan Stark
Detroit News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

You witness the first, testing, tension-packed conversation between Spacey and Osment, as pregnant in its silences as in its words, and you are ready to go wherever this movie leads you.

Full Review Source: Detroit News | Original Score: 3/4

January 1, 2000
Robert Horton
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some very affecting performances.

January 1, 2000
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Both affecting and effective.

Full Review Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

January 1, 2000
Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An example of how a movie can emotionally blackmail an audience.

January 1, 2000
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile