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A teacher gives an assignment to his class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. When one young student creates a plan for "paying forward" favors, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, has blossomed into a profound national phenomenon.
Drama - Manipulative but optimistic and ultimately effective drama about how
one idea can change the world. Clearly put together as a "prestige
project" with the intent of garnering a few Oscar nominations.
PROFANITY: Frequent but no F-word usage. Three GD's SEX/NUDITY: One non-graphic sex scene; no nudity. VIOLENCE: Off-screen child abuse; fights between kids. DRUGS/ALCOHOL: Several alcoholic and/or drug-addicted characters. ACTION: None. COMEDY: Occasional humor to break dramatic tension.
Pay It Forward couldn't have more obvious aspirations if the filmmakers announced them. Featuring a top-notch cast; an adept script that meshes tragedy, light comedy, romance, and melodrama; and the kind of overall optimism that is a perfect tonic for the ever-burgeoning national cynicism, Pay It Forward strikes many of the same chords played by Oscar contenders from It's a Wonderful Life to Forrest Gump. Call it the anti-American Beauty. Movies made with the full intention of shining during the autumn Academy Awards selection season often come across as graceless, lumbering creatures - disjointed messes that fall victim to their own pomposity and presumptuousness. Not so with Pay It Forward, which successfully avoids most of the obvious traps, resulting a final product that is both affecting and effective.
OPINION OVERVIEW The following is the original "What's Worth
Watching" write-up for this movie.
A GREAT MOVIE! I loved it and so did moviegoers! Heartwarming, fun, very entertaining and with a good message. Nearly all of the 177 moviegoer opinions collected gave this movie very high marks. Your chances of enjoying it are VERY HIGH!
CAUTION: You ladies will want to be sure and have some tissues. It is a tear jerker.
Everything in social studies teacher Eugene Simonet's (KEVIN SPACEY) life is in order -- every shirt, every pencil, every person in its proper place. To keep the surface placid means never having to go deeper. And no one and nothing in his life has ever asked him to.
Arlene McKinney (HELEN HUNT) is a single mother hanging on by her fingertips, working two jobs, and struggling to raise her son, Trevor (HALEY JOEL
OSMENT). She is trying to give him a new life, but in her absence she is losing him.
Eugene gives Trevor's class an assignment: look at the world around you and fix what you don't like. But can you fix people?