7.2/10
103,902
664 user 159 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.

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Writers:

(book), (screenplay)
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Popularity
3,408 ( 1,158)
1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Eugene Simonet
... Arlene McKinney
... Trevor McKinney
... Chris Chandler
... Jerry (as James Caviezel)
... Ricky McKinney
... Grace
... Sidney Parker
Gary Werntz ... Mr. Thorsen
... Woman on Bridge
... Adam
... Bonnie
... Michelle
... Nurse
... 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:

Is it possible for one idea to change the world? 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:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Warner Bros. (US)

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cadena de favores  »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Sidney: [Staring at Thorsen's Daughter] No! No, wait!
[Gets up in front of Thorsen, faces the Nurse, and starts shouting]
Sidney: No! Hey! Wait! Enough bullshit! You need to help her right now!
Nurse: Excuse me...?
Sidney: Man, why you giving me all this shit? Ain't you got some oxygen or something you can give her?
Nurse: All right. Let me get a supervisor.
[Attempts to leave]
Sidney: [Blocks her way] No, no, no, no! You don't need to get no supervisor! You the supervisor today! Huh? You are the supervisor today! You feel me on that? Now I ...
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Psych: Autopsy Turvy (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Last Resort
By Tobin Esperance, Jerry Horton, Jacoby Shaddix and Dave Buckner
Performed by Papa Roach
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Life is pain
12 November 2000 | by See all my reviews

Life is full of inconsistencies, and it is not without a sense of irony. There are people that have tried to make a difference in life and some of them have paid for it with their lives. Some that come to mind are Martin Luther King Jr, JFK, Gandhi and Terry Fox. It's not easy to change the world. It takes a lot of hard work and determination. And it doesn't happen overnight. But then you see a film like this and you begin to question that rationale. What if a concept like this really was implemented? What if every single person that had a favour bestowed upon them was asked to pay it forward? Is it possible that a Utopian world could be achieved? I doubt it, but it certainly would go a long way to making this condemned world a better place to live.

I don't think this is one of the best movies that I have ever seen. I don't think it is even the best film that I will see this year (although it will make my top ten ) but the idea behind it is what has me intrigued. Believe me when I tell you this. I don't think I have ever been as emotionally galvanized as I was in this film. There is a raw power, a truth that rings clear in Pay It Forward and if there was one film that I would want people to see this year, it would be this film. It is entertaining, it is superbly acted, and it the one true film, the one true idea that really could help make a positive and tangible difference in our society and our world.

In some circles this film has been criticized for laying on the fluff. It is too much like a soap opera. And that is so far from the truth. Let's recount the issues at hand and examine them. Kevin Spacey plays a burn victim because of child abuse. Helen Hunt plays a single mom that is having a hard time recovering from alcoholism and has a bad case of "can't get her ex-husband" out of her life and her bed. Haley Joel Osment plays a wise beyond his years son that had to grow up precociously because of his mother that suffers from the above. Every character in this film, including the bit players suffers from real problems. If people have a hard time understanding this then just go to an average suburban classroom in North America and arbitrarily pick out ten kids. Chances are you will find cases of alcoholism, child abuse, divorce and a plethora of issues that are not conducive to a healthy environment for a child. So this film is just mirroring life. That's all.

The performances by the three leads is nothing short of brilliant. Not as much can be said for the rest of the cast, but Spacey, Osment and Hunt all could be nominated this year when March comes. All three bring compassion and depth to the three scarred people that they portray. But especially intriguing is Osment. He doesn't need to say anything in order for you to understand him. It's a look, a twitch, a smile, a shiver. Anything he does helps us understand who he is and why he is that way. Osment is one true gifted actor and I really don't think he is going to fade away in the years to come like so many other child prodigies. This is the real deal. By following up Sixth Sense with a performance this real solidifies him as a true thespian.

If you have not seen this film for whatever reason, and its box office suggests most haven't, then do yourself a favour and take a chance on it. Not only will it do you good, it really might help change you in some ways. And as Osment says in the film, maybe we may all see in some way that, " the world isn't really s**t."

9 out of 10 ( and bring lots of tissues )


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