From the director of The Pursuit of Happyness and starring two-time Academy Award nominee Will Smith comes an emotional tale of a man with a haunting secret who sets out to redeem himself by changing the lives of seven total strangers. Once his plan is set in motion, nothing can alter it. Or so he thinks.
But what Ben Thomas never expects is that he will fall in love with one of the strangers – and that it is she who will start to change him. Part mystery, part love story, Seven Pounds asks questions about life and death, regret and forgiveness, strangers and friendship, love and redemption – as it pursues the connections that tie human fates together.
Driven by the reality of a tragic accident, he begins with a list of seven names, total strangers with the only thing in common that each has reached a turning point and is in dire need of help, from financial to spiritual to medical – and unbeknownst to them, Thomas has carefully chosen each to be part of his plan of redemption. But it is Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a lively cardiac patient, who throws a wrench into the works as she does the one thing Ben thought impossible and drastically changes his game plan.
Back in 2006, The Pursuit of Happyness, brought together director Gabriele Muccino and Will Smith came across an extraordinary story of a homeless father who courageously rebuilds his life, becoming a corporate success on nothing but courage, love and hope. In Seven Pounds, the pair reunite in a vaguely similar thought-provoking story of a man preparing to do something extraordinary for seven strangers.
The draw was the chance to create a different kind of love story, not just about unpredictable and deep romance, but redemptive power of selfless love. Screenwriter Grant Nieporte wanted to ‘do something new’ – to write an unconventional love story about a man, a revenue tax collector of all things, who thinks he is dead to the world, and then meets a very unusual woman who brings him back to life.
As is his wont in recent more pithy films like Hancock and Pursuit of Hapyness, Smith has taken to stretching himself beyond his cheerful action-man image.
Seven Pounds is more of this direction – a path that may not appeal to his core fan base. Backed up by a pensive soundtrack, subjective cinematography and performances that rely on muted calm for impact, Ben Thomas leads us into the inner workings of a man lost in the wilderness – a rare position for those who admire Smith as a rapid-fire, joke a minute funboy. A thoughtful film definitely aimed at a more mature audience, Seven Pounds does meander at times – especially in the first thirty minutes when the plotline is deliberately cloudy. Overall, it does a decent job of addressing issues which Hollywood would normally shy away from, and in the hands of Smith is always engaging.