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Destler Dodge

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“I need to report a suicide.”

“Who’s the victim?”

“I am.”

This haunting opening dialogue sets the tone for the entire movie. How did Ben Thomas, portrayed by a somber Will Smith, reach this point in time? How do the various other characters in the film influence his decision? Does he eventually die?

I do not want to include too many details about the plot, lest this beautifully written and elegantly executed film lose its awesome power as you sit, enthralled, in the theatre. As the movie continues, questions are answered in terms of the basic plot, but leaves you asking, wanting, needing more answers than you ever anticipated, including some self-reflection: “What would I do given Ben Thomas’ situation?”

The various characters — from telemarketer and beef salesman Ezra Turner, played by Woody Harrelson, to an intriguing Emily Posa, given life by Rosario Dawson — receive a chance to become realistic people in front of the audience, a rare find in most contemporary movies. The balance between the time required for the maturation of each person and the natural progression of the plot is absolutely perfect, with very few lags. Relationships between the characters seem as organic as the ones we cultivate every day, and there is never a whiff of dialogue that sounds or feels scripted; it’s simply two lonely people reaching out to one another, and one man whose decision will impact more than just himself.

I would highly recommend this movie to those who enjoy frequenting the Little Theatre downtown or didn’t mind the unnerving Crash. This movie is intended to be thought provoking and should be treated as such; if you just took a midterm or if you are on a first date, I would, however, suggest some lighter fare.

I would not be surprised to see Seven Pounds nominated in several categories. The only potential reason for it to not take any Oscars would be if their official submission ballot were lost in the mail. The film has already received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay for the 2008 Satellite Awards, foreshadowing a potential recognition when the 2008 Oscars commence.