7.2/10
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664 user 160 critic

Pay It Forward (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama | 20 October 2000 (USA)
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A young boy attempts to make the world a better place after his teacher gives him that chance.

Director:

Mimi Leder

Writers:

Catherine Ryan Hyde (book), Leslie Dixon (screenplay)
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Popularity
4,919 ( 220)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Spacey ... Eugene Simonet
Helen Hunt ... Arlene McKinney
Haley Joel Osment ... Trevor McKinney
Jay Mohr ... Chris Chandler
Jim Caviezel ... Jerry (as James Caviezel)
Jon Bon Jovi ... Ricky McKinney
Angie Dickinson ... Grace
David Ramsey ... Sidney Parker
Gary Werntz Gary Werntz ... Mr. Thorsen
Colleen Flynn ... Woman on Bridge
Marc Donato ... Adam
Kathleen Wilhoite ... Bonnie
Liza Snyder ... Michelle
Jeannetta Arnette ... Nurse
Hannah Leder ... Thorsen's Daughter (as Hannah Werntz)
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Storyline

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 <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes The Simplest Idea Can Make The Biggest Difference. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including substance abuse/recovery, some sexual situations, language and brief violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros. (US)

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cadena de favores See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$40,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,631,359, 22 October 2000, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$33,519,628

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$55,707,411
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Haley Joel Osment celebrated his 12th birthday on the set during the last day of shooting. Although Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt had completed their own filming, they turned up on the set just to celebrate his birthday. Coincidentally, Trevor McKinney, the character played by Osment, celebrates his 12th birthday in the movie. See more »

Goofs

Just before Eugene reveals his childhood story to Arlene, Eugene steps out of his car. The camera man and the light from his camera is reflected in the window and door of the car. See more »

Quotes

Trevor McKenney: I think some people are too scared, or something. I guess it's hard for people who are so used to things the way they are - even if they're bad - to change. 'Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.
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Connections

Referenced in Big Love: Til Death Do Us Part (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Calling All Angels
Written and Performedy by Jane Siberry
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Just the Sort of Treacle I Wrote When I Was Eleven
7 August 2001 | by XianPhoenixSee all my reviews

This was not a bad film; in fact, it was fairly well done, for what it was. Unfortunately, what it was was emotionally manipulative. Child abuse survivors, cute kids, recovering alcoholic mom working two jobs, this movie had it all. Above all, the director's vision was muddled. "Life is sh*t," says Trevor (Osment); by the end of the film, we can see that life is not sh*t after all. Or is it? The dramatic twist at the end (I won't spoil it for you) seemed to revoke the entire message of the movie. It had no apparent purpose, other than to lead up to the buy-the-world-a-coke, faux-heartwarming finale. The movie was not a total wash, however, as the genuinely solid performances from everyone involved lifted it above the sappy little mess it could have been. Osment is a gifted actor who manages to be a scared, vulnerable kid, without resorting to overt cuteness; he has a wary toughness which makes his performances very believable. Although I am admittedly ambiguous about Helen Hunt, she did turn in a very strong, thoughtful performance in a role that could easily have been one-sided or overplayed. Final analyss: If you like sentimentality, "Pay it Forward" is worth the effort, but it falls far short of a classic.


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