Friday, December 26, 2008

7 Pounds-A movie review

We went as a family last night to see 7 Pounds.

The advertising and movie clips are ambiguous and misleading. I can't tell you how frustrating that is! We thought this was going to somehow be a movie that showed a man changing the lives of others through some wonderful gift. That's what we were led to believe by the movie trailers and the interview of Will Smith on the late shows.

Well, not!

Spoiler alert, but I think you won't mind because it doesn't stop the fact that you will feel intense emotion. You'll need a box of tissues if you decide to see this movie.

But here's why I wouldn't . . .

This movie is very well acted. But that is where it ends for me. Although there are a few seconds, out of the entire two hours, where you will smile, you saw that on the television preview. And that is why you will be surprised that the entire movie is a tragedy and not a feel-good Pay-It-Forward type show that we thought it would be. A tragedy would be fine if that was apparent from the advertising. But it wasn't. You won't feel good walking out of the show. It is not funny or quirky.

7 Pounds is a movie about a man who is not able to find redemption for a past mistake. Unfortunately, that isn't all. It gets worse. He sets in motion a series of gifts that eventually cost his life by his own choice.

He isn't giving his life to save people as a hero, he's giving his life because he couldn't live with what he'd done. No healing, no hope, no way past the regret. Instead of being a hero, I see this tragic character as a misled and hurting soul unable to find forgiveness and unwilling to get help to find it.

One of the gifts he gives isn't practical although it seems quite magnanimous. He wants to save a woman and her children from abuse. Excellent, I think. Then I see that the gift he's given has no support system. So the woman has no new job or social skills to be able to maintain what she's been given. Think: Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Show a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime. All he does is give her a fish without the teaching. He wanted to feel good but didn't really provide a solution. For those social workers and counselors out there, you will understand immediately even though there's a nice scene of a woman running on the beach with her children. They are free for a day.

I think what bothered me most about the movie was the glorification of suicide. In our community, there have been an extremely high amount of suicides from people that lost hope and then those suicides had several copy cats. Most have been teens. Teens will see this movie as it is PG 13 rated. It worries me deeply that this kind of a message is now circulated not only in our community, but also internationally by such a great and influential actor as Will Smith. I'm truly worried at what may happen as a result of this "selfless" suicide. Maybe because of the lost lives here, I could be more sensitive, but I feel this movie will cost us more damaged hearts.

I'd like to hope that Hollywood just wanted to get the message across not to be frivolous when using a cell phone while driving. I'd like to. But then again, it's Hollywood- not well known for a higher level of judgement. sigh.

Please, if you or someone you know is prone to thoughts of suicide, this is NOT the movie to go see. Please avoid it. This show does not follow up with the pain of loss the character's family goes through. We only experience it from a woman he's known for a few short weeks. Well acted, but not a realistic acknowledgement of the ripple effect of suicide on a family or community. We aren't shown his family afterwards at all.

Did you know that suicide runs in families? It is a commonality that counselors look for in a depressed person. A true fact: If a parent commits suicide, their children are at a significantly higher risk of suicide.

If you are in the mood to cry and want to see a tragedy, the acting is good. Please keep in mind that because something is permissible, it doesn't make it beneficial.

In the case of this movie, I feel God's powerful ability to heal the human soul is woefully missing while the character's right to choose the end of his life usurps God's place. Not only does it usurp, but the miraculous way God works in our lives to bring stunning beauty out of brokenness is completely stopped. There is no miracle or saving grace or hero in this movie. It makes me sad that as human beings, we do make choices that hurt more than they help. We are all fallible and susceptible.

We cannot be God and this movie forgets the miracle of hope entirely in a time where our country needs it so badly.

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