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Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Like some other kids, 12-year-old Trevor McKinney believed in the goodness of human nature. Like many other kids, he was determined to change the world for the better. Unlike most other kids, he succeeded. See more »
In the book, the teacher is a black man named Reuben St. Clair. The role of Reuben was originally offered to Denzel Washington but was turned down, due to other commitments. When Kevin Spacey agreed to the movie, the character was changed to a white man named Eugene Simonet. See more »
After Trevor runs away, Arlene is talking to the police and says if she had a car, she'd be looking for him. Later, she even asks Eugene to drive her around to look for Trevor because she had no car, but earlier in the movie, Jerry fixes her truck, so she had no need to ask someone else for a ride.
This is assuming of course, that she had resolved the issue of the truck not having all of its wheels on it - since it was raised on a stand, with at least one wheel missing. See more »
Despite the shortcomings - well played and at times inspiring
I remember leaving the cinema, feeling very much let down by the end of "Pay it Forward". Watching it recently on television I find myself far more forgiving since it's a movie with a sincere and important message, expressed with conviction. The quasi-religious ending probably will appeal to many, but from an artistic viewpoint, it seems unnecessary and not entirely suited to the tone of the film up to that point.
Kevin Spacey is effective as the suppressed, sensitive teacher, while Helen Hunt is terrific, despite the role being far too close for comfort with her "As Good As It Gets" character. But it's Hailey Joel Osment's wonderful portrayal that gives "Pay It Forward" much of its power. He simply is perfect for the part. (Good to see Angie Dickenson, braving it in the role of a homeless alcoholic).
At its best, this is a film which may just do the impossible: inspiring one to good deeds, without expectation of reward or remuneration. That alone is a substantial achievement.
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