Pay It Forward (2000) Poster

Parents Guide

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MPAA Rated PG-13 for mature thematic elements including substance abuse/recovery, some sexual situations, language and brief violence

Sex & Nudity

  • We see some scantily clad dancers in the club where Arlene works (doing some stripper type dancing and moves). While no nudity is present, they are bra/bikini-like tops and short shorts. We then see Arlene wearing a bra/bikini-like top that shows lots of cleavage.
  • A young boy appears in his underwear.
  • Arlene is shown in her bra a few times.
  • Arlene wears clothes that show cleavage and stomach a few times.

Violence & Gore

  • A boy is slapped across the face.
  • A man pulls out a gun and threatens a woman.
  • A girl is seen having an asthma attack. A man almost runs over a boy on a bike.
  • A man grabs another man and throws him into a bathroom. (Loud clangs and yells are heard.)
  • A man threatens to abuse a boy (his kid).
  • There are several talks about a man abusing his wife and child.
  • There is a discussion in which a man graphically describes being attacked and burned alive by his father in a murder attempt.
  • A scene in which several school yard bullies are shown, beating up on physically smaller children and eventually throwing them in a dumpster. A small boy is also knocked off his bike by these kids.


  • 2 uses of N**ga
  • 18 uses of Shit, 2 uses of Fag, 7 uses of Ass, 4 uses of Hell, 4 uses of Bullshit, 1 use of Piss, 6 uses of Bitch, 4 uses of Damn, 1 use of Asshole, 1 use of Bastard, 1 use of Dickhead, 1 use of Shithole, 1 use of Oh God, 4 uses of Oh My God, 1 use of My God, 2 uses of Jesus, 3 uses of Goddamn, 1 use of For God's Sake, 1 use of Heavy Ass Shit, 2 uses of Son-of-a-Bitch

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • We see that Jerry is a junkie (implied to be heroin or meth) when Arlene spots the track marks on his arm. Later, when Trevor goes to see him, we see that Jerry is very high, sitting and staring into space.
  • Arlene is a recovering alcoholic. There is only one scene in the entire movie that shows her drinking though. She is tempted a couple of times during the movie, during some stressful moments, but resists.
  • Several patrons of a strip club (where Arlene works) are shown drinking and are heavily intoxicated. One of them offers Arlene a drink, which she refuses.
  • Arlene's AA sponsor, is shown smoking cigarettes.
  • A homeless woman is shown drinking.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The scenes where the bullies harass a young boy, may be intense.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Sex & Nudity

  • Arlene is shown in her bra in her bedroom, getting ready for a date with Eugene.
  • There is a scene that shows two fully clothed characters, in bed, about to make love. The woman removes her shirt in anticipation of lovemaking. The scene then cuts to the next morning and shows the male character emerging from the woman's bedroom, and her child, who is at home, sees this.

Violence & Gore

  • Trevor is stabbed; he gasps and blood pours out of the wound. He falls to the ground and twitches. We later hear that he has died.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • Trevor is stabbed by a bully near the end of the movie. The last part of the movie is various characters paying their respects to him and his death.

See also

Taglines | Plot Summary | Synopsis | Plot Keywords

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