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Seven Pounds (2008)

tomatometer

27

Average Rating: 4.6/10
Reviews Counted: 186
Fresh: 50 | Rotten: 136

Grim and morose, Seven Pounds is also undone by an illogical plot.

31

Average Rating: 4.9/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 13 | Rotten: 29

Grim and morose, Seven Pounds is also undone by an illogical plot.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 634,460

My Rating

Movie Info

Academy Award nominee Will Smith reunites with the director and producers of The Pursuit of Happyness for this emotional drama concerning an IRS agent whose quest for redemption is unexpectedly complicated after he inadvertently falls in love. Ben Thomas is an IRS agent with a fateful secret. Assuming the identity of his younger brother, Ben sets out in search of redemption. Instead, Ben discovers true love while forever changing the lives of seven complete strangers. Woody Harrelson, Rosario

PG-13,

Drama, Romance

Grant Nieporte

Mar 31, 2009

$70.0M

Sony Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (186) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (136) | DVD (15)

It's not what you'd call any good, but Claude Lelouch fans, say, might relish its grandiose romantic gestures in the face of all known logic.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comments (2)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I think it's just kind of average but Rosario Dawson is great and worthy of some type of recognition throughout this award show season.

December 22, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

That big twist at the end... if you go back and analyze it -- I'm not sure it holds up, but I don't think it really matters all that much.

December 22, 2008 Full Review Source: At the Movies | Comment (1)
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As high concepts go, Seven Pounds is distasteful in the extreme.

December 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Comments (6)
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's a lovely performance [by Dawson], in part because her character throws every charm she's got at the one man who seems doomed to deflect it.

December 19, 2008 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It takes the soggy cake for multiple layers of sentimentality topped by indigestible grandiosity.

December 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal | Comments (3)
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An overwrought, improbable drama that's as frustrating as it is morbid.

July 14, 2011 Full Review Source: Digital Spy
Digital Spy

Proof that no black actor, regardless of acclaim or popularity, can ever truly transcend the Mythical Black Man motif. Milquetoast dweebishness robs Will Smith of his natural forcefulness, and "Seven Pounds" has easily the worst ending of the last decade.

October 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Suite101.com | Comments (15)
Suite101.com

Reactions to the movie will largely depend on whether or not viewers decide this time that the divine Mr. Smith has overreached. I say he has -- but I can't tell you why.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: NPR.org
NPR.org

El ritmo de la cinta es algo lento en un inicio pero después mejora, aunque hay que decirlo, se siente la mano manipuladora del director que parece haber estado más concentrado en pensar si el público se sentiría conmovido que en hacer un filme memorable.

March 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinenganos
Cinenganos

Seven Pounds may be the most spiritual picture of the holiday season; this story of redemption is a gift for moviegoers.

September 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Hollywood.com | Comments (2)
Hollywood.com

The ending will divide viewers. Some will shed tears, others will be outraged. It's a bold artistic choice, but one of questionable morality.

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Times | Comment (1)
Washington Times

The creepiest version yet of the Magical Negro routine

August 26, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comments (13)
CinePassion

Takes immense pleasure in letting its audience in on nothing.

July 30, 2009 Full Review Source: Moviedex | Comments (5)
Moviedex

The good, Will Smith is a brilliant actor. The bad, Seven Pounds isn't nearly as brilliant as Will Smith.

June 10, 2009 Full Review Source: BET.com
BET.com

Will Smith's previous film with director Gabriele Muccino, The Pursuit of Happyness, was a tale well told. Their new one is a gimmicky tale annoyingly told.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

A clumsily melodramatic movie that tells us too much too soon and forces us to sit through endless morose vacuousness.

March 10, 2009 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Más allá de lo caprichoso de la historia, e incluso de lo fragmentario del relato -a lo 21 Gramos- es innegable la capacidad que exhibe Muccino para atrapar la atención del espectador.

March 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Uruguay Total
Uruguay Total

Not a bad tearjerker for the holiday season and as Smith's in it, it'll probably make a mint.

February 27, 2009 Full Review Source: JoBlo's Movie Emporium
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

...packs one hell of an emotional punch as it approaches its affecting and flat-out devastating conclusion.

February 25, 2009 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Seven Pounds is an unexpected holiday powerhouse. Will Smith shakes off his familiar, comfortable persona, and cuts to the unsettled heart of humanity.

February 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Fayetteville Free Weekly | Comments (3)
Fayetteville Free Weekly

A contrived, thrill-less thriller that's more concerned about its inane gimmicks than about keeping you truly riveted, engrossed or enlightened.

January 31, 2009 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

A collage of strong scenes, dull bits, good filmmaking and a dissatisfying emotional payoff. A laudable attempt to tackle heavyweight subject-matter that ends up just being heavy weather.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Seven Pounds can feel too heavy at times but Smith carries the film.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4

Seven Pounds is a profoundly irritating mystery about a profoundly silly man.

January 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK] | Comments (3)
Times [UK]

Audience Reviews for Seven Pounds

Is "Seven Pounds" as bad as all the critics said? Almost. The critics savaged this film when it came out, going a bit overboard, as they are wont to do. Perhaps in their puny subconscious minds Will Smith was due for some backlash, just as Halle Berry was when "Catwoman" came out.

"Seven Pounds" is not so much bad as under-developed. There is interesting subject matter, but first-time screenwriter Grant Nieporte appears not to have had any idea how to explore the ideas and develop a real story. What he did was basically just provide the outline for a story. The script has all the depth of something Kim Kardashian would write if she took a Creative Writing course.

Without giving away the details and surprises, I'll simply say that a man responsible for a horrific tragedy (the character played by Smith) attempts a form of redemption by making extraordinary sacrifices for others. I won't give away what he does for them, but it's not what you think.

This would be quite interesting to explore. How many stages of grief did the man go through? What difficulties has he had in figuring out a way to live again? How were his relationships impacted?

What sorts of attempts did he make at healing? Which ones were more successful than others and why? And what counts as "success" in grieving anyway?

How did he come up with the idea for the sacrifices he makes? What sorts of mixed feelings did he have about the sacrifices? What kind of complex emotions did the recipients of his generosity feel? There's the obvious gratitude. But surely a serious screenwriter would be more interested in the darker complexities of such situations.

Nieporte had no interest in any of this. All he wanted to show was simple grief, simple generosity, and simple gratitude. He clearly is not an artist. At heart he's probably a greeting-card writer. Very simple sentiment.

Italian director Gabriele Muccino, who first directed an American film in 2008 ("The Pursuit of Happyness," also starring Smith), seems to revel in the simplicity of the script. He directs in a mind-bogglingly pedestrian way, using one schmaltzy cliche after the next. The only real creativity is in the editing, which is at times intriguing. This film project could have gone somewhere. But unfortunately it never really got off the ground.

Even a good cast (Smith is joined by Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson, among others) can't do much with it. There's just so much actors can do when the screenwriter and director are aiming resolutely for superficiality.
August 2, 2012
Bill D 2007
William Dunmyer

Super Reviewer

An IRS investigator journeys about looking for good people to give stuff to.
The first act of this film is spent trying to hide information from the audience. I suppose director Gabriele Muccino thought that revealing Ben's history provided more dramatic impact if than the story itself could provide, and so she resorted to gimmickry, but all it accomplished was pissing me off. I like stories about good people trying to do the right thing in the face of horrid circumstances, and this is such a story, but it's simply not told well. Also, I think the story would have been more realistic had more people, especially Emily, questioned Ben's motivations; after all, in the real world people who do nice things are almost always accused of having ulterior motives.
Will Smith's performance is reserved and stoic, but unlike his other dramatic turns, like in The Pursuit of Happyness, Smith's natural enthusiasm doesn't come out; it feels like he's choking himself to remind all involved that this is heavy-handed drama. Rosario Dawson is good, playing the sweet, charming, damaged character with charm and grace.
Overall, there are an awful lot of flaws in the way the story is told, but I like the basic premise.
July 22, 2012
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

I held off writing a review for so long out of disgust that I kind of forgot what the film was about. So that's my review, one word: "forgettable." It's not quite so bad that you'll remember it, it's just boring and replaces any kind of emotional experience with bad music and bad montages. It never gives you enough information for you to empathize with the main character, and then, the reveal in the end doesn't make you feel anything, because all along, you were indifferent to the protagonist, anyway. I hadn't heard great things, so I wasn't disappointed per se, but I agree with most critics: this was a total misfire.
July 8, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

Starring Will Smith, SEVEN POUNDS is a moving but ultimately flummoxing drama. It tells the tale of a man who causes a car crash (shown in a flashback, as this happens before the film's main events) by text messaging while driving. Regretting the terrible accident, he sets out to save the lives of seven good people he does not know. This film was very enjoyable, but if you want to fully understand it and not give up on watching it, I'd recommend paying full attention to every second of the film--that's how confusing it is. In other words, get your popcorn before you watch it so you don't have to get up to pop some while you're watching. The more you miss, the less of the end you will understand; I guarantee you.
September 10, 2011
spielberg00

Super Reviewer

    1. Ben Thomas: Don't be weak...Dont be weak!
    – Submitted by Enid D (21 months ago)
    1. Ben Thomas: I remember giving you something. Remember that? Because I remember that very clearly.
    – Submitted by John-Paul H (2 years ago)
    1. Emily Posa: You know, just so you know, I used to be really hot.
    – Submitted by Hanna K (2 years ago)
    1. Ben Thomas: In seven days, God created the world. And in seven seconds, I shattered mine.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
    1. Ben Thomas: I haven't treated myself very well.
    – Submitted by Chris P (2 years ago)
View all quotes (5)

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