Trying to figure out "Seven Pounds"
If you are planning to go see the Will Smith movie, "Seven Pounds," you might want to skip reading this column in case I give something away, although I will do my best not to reveal too much about the story.
I'm pretty picky about what I will watch at the movie theatre, partly because of the expensive ticket prices and also because I dislike having that feeling of I-wish-I-could-take-back-those-two-hours-of-my-life, as my older sister put it after recently taking her two young daughters to see a mediocre animated movie.
My usual strategy before going to see a movie is to watch the trailer, read a few reviews and then get the opinion of a friend, family member or co-worker who has already seen it.
I didn't follow this recipe for a few movies, and I still regret paying money to see "Me, Myself &Irene" and "Spy Game."
It's funny how some movies make you want to watch them over and over again – for me, that would be "Braveheart," "Ace Ventura," "Forrest Gump" and any Audrey Hepburn movie – while others fall into the thought-provoking but disturbing category.
Movies that I put in the category include those about genocide ("Hotel Rwanda" and "Schindler's List"), racism ("Crash") and serial killers ("Seven" and "Silence of the Lambs").
These are all very good movies, but they're also hard to watch because they are so realistic and their subject matter is so grim.
I saw "Seven Pounds" last weekend, and it might just be the saddest movie I have ever seen, although "The Happening" and another one of Smith's movies, "I Am Legend," are pretty close.
I wouldn't even know how to explain the movie to my little sister, who is 14, because even though the main character seeks redemption through helping others, he commits an act that is considered by many to be unredeemable. What he does at the end of the movie made me think about that philosophical question, "Do the ends justify the means?"
Smith does an incredible acting job in this movie as a man who once had everything in life but now seems to hate himself.
He spends most of the movie trying to find people who are deserving of his assistance and then doing everything he can to improve their circumstances.
Normally that would be a healthy formula for a feel-good movie, but this movie is definitely not "The Pursuit of Happyness."
There is a surprisingly touching sub-plot involving Smith's character and Emily, a critically-ill heart patient played by an effervescent Rosario Dawson, but even that story has a bittersweet conclusion.
Smith is probably the biggest movie star in the world today, and generally his movies draw large audiences and repeat business at the box office.
But I predict this will be one of his lowest-grossing films because most people go to the movies to escape the real world, while this film just reminds you how difficult and unexplainable life can be.