By Stacey Doud
7 Pounds, starring Will Smith, is by no means a new movie, as it was released in 2008. Co-stars include Woody Harrelson, Rosario Dawson and Michael Ealy (known for his dark skin and blue eyes).
I think what drew me to re-watch this movie was my wavering thoughts and feelings about human “goodness.” I used to believe that people were innately good, but this last decade or so had me wondering if my belief still stood true in my own heart.
We hear and read about so many bad, tragic or senseless things these days. Even I, who has not voluntarily watched a news program in over 20 years, am not immune. These stories and events push through somehow: Maybe a friend says something or sends a text. Maybe there’s something on my Facebook timeline that I just “had” to click on. Maybe I overhear a conversation by the water cooler. The point is that it is almost impossible not to be privy to some news on a day-to-day basis.
When I say that I’m watching, “7 Pounds,” people tell me that it tore them up or they just couldn’t bring themselves to watch it. There are a few reasons why I think it’s worthy to watch or re-watch:
- It addresses how tough we can be on ourselves: I don’t know how I would react if my spouse, child, friend or whomever died in a vehicular accident with me at the wheel. I suspect I’d have to at least do a stint in a psychiatric facility or see a therapist every day for a while; however, accidents DO happen. And I know that Smith’s character (Ben/Tim) never purposefully harmed his spouse. Yet, he persecuted and punished himself to the max. His final “plan” was noble, but, in my humble opinion, unnecessary. I believe that the human spirit can overcome almost anything, especially if he/she has a source of faith.
- It illustrates kindness to others: Yes, Tim is on the super-extreme end of the spectrum of things that can go awry in one’s life, but he was able to turn his pain and guilt into something beautiful for seven other people. I’d never advocate for suicide, but Tim had his mind made up; yet he chose to leave so much beauty behind in the form of his bone marrow, corneas, his heart and other vital organs. He even “vetted” the recipients of his gifts for himself, supposedly to make sure he was donating to “good” people. Of course, whether folks are bad, neutral or good is subjective, but I understood what the movie was trying to convey. And whether we want to accept it or not, suicide IS one option for people in distress. We might not like it or want it, but, like so much else, what others do is not under our control.
- It demonstrates how a tragedy can be transformed: Don’t get me wrong…being the driver in a fatality accident is tragic, and always will be, no matter the circumstances. And even though I am not, and would not ever be, an advocate for Tim (or anyone) to kill himself, he does make seven other people’s lives better by taking his own life. The movie makes it clear that he puts an enormous amount of thought into how he would die to make sure that his donations were best preserved, and who he wanted to help. With the assistance of a lawyer and a brother who tried their best to understand and respect his wishes, Tim was almost an “angel on Earth” for most of the people he donated his organs to.
- LOVE: Just love. Even though Tim fell in love with Rosario Dawson’s Emily, he still felt that it was more important to “fulfill his mission” than to blow it off to be with her. With so many people acting selfishly and seemingly only caring about themselves these days, it was refreshing to see Tim put other people first, even though he probably could have had a relationship with Emily. I personally think he punished himself needlessly, but the way he did it was full of love…perhaps it was his way of paying the love that he and his deceased spouse had for one another forward to help others.
THE BOTTOM LINE: I can honestly give this film 4 out of 5 stars. I’m sure many readers will wonder how crazy I am to do that, but I believe that if you watch this movie in the spirit with which it was made, you’ll laugh, cry, scream and jump for joy. And isn’t that what movies are supposed to do for us? They strive to make us feel. And “7 Pounds” absolutely fits the bill. Just have some tissues handy!
★★★★ out of 5