Today I saw Seven Pounds, starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson.
Why didn't someone tell me to take a box of Kleenex?
The story begins as Smith's character (though I won't mention his name in the film here; you'll understand why when you see it) is screaming at a blind meat salesman—a stranger, played by Woody Harrelson, for no apparent reason. His home is lavish, his clothing is expensive and he seems to "have it all."
Next, we watch him criticize a man who is somehow in charge of a nursing home and then fight with a childhood friend (played by Barry Pepper, who I'd like to have seen more of).
The first sign of 'nice guy' exhibited by our main character comes when he tracks down Emily (Dawson) who is suffering from congenital heart failure. He poses as an IRS agent and after meeting with her (and instantly liking her), promises to freeze all of the collections on her overdue taxes.
The big question: why is he doing all of this?
We learn in (somewhat predictable) flashbacks why, and the how is revealed much later in the film (impatient folks like me will think too much later).
The main themes I took away from this story were guilt, compassion and redemption.
Though you'll cheer Will's character along in his finer moments, one must realize they're all being contrived based upon a whole lot of judgment.
But that's not to say it wasn't good.
Smith and Dawson make a wonderful match, sparking with chemistry throughout (the makeup team should also be heralded for making Dawson so sick-looking—it exhausted me just watching her), and the supporting players in Pepper, Harrelson, etc. are also perfect in their unfortunately tiny roles.
The final act draws everything together nicely and leaves you wondering if it takes a monumental mistake to provoke such altruism. Or can we even call it that, if redemption is the ultimate goal?