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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
At one moment, a poster on the wall in Trevor's bedroom can be seen. It displays Goldberg, a famous professional wrestler, at the time wrestling in WCW. See more »
When Trevor is eating breakfast in the kitchen with his friend, the contents of his breakfast bowl and glass change between shots. See more »
[Thorsen gives Chris the keys to his car]
You want me to drive home in your car?
No, I want you to take my car. Had a lot of luck lately. I don't need it.
You're giving me a brand-new Jaguar, and you don't want anything?
I can prove it. Give me your card.
[Chris gives Thorsen a business card]
I'll be in touch.
Whoa, what is this? What, you want me to kill your wife or something?
No. Tempting, but no. Call it generosity between two strangers.
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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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