Givin’ It Up

I hate it when trailers tell you everything about a movie except the final beat, so you’d think I’d be receptive to the plot vagueness in this recently posted trailer for Seven Pounds, the Will Smith movie coming out on 12.19. But it bothered me. “What’s going on here?” I was saying to myself. I got the part about Smith being shattered by something he did and wanting to help others in a kind of Pay It Forward vein, but what’s the shot?

You have to search around on the Seven Pounds IMDB page — among the reader comments, I mean — to understand what’s really going on. Which I did. So now I know.
The first assumption you might have is that the title refers to a birth weight. Nope. It alludes to the term “pound of flesh” from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (i.e., Shylock’s demand that Antonio literally surrender a pound of his own flesh if he fails to pay a monetary date by a certain date). Thematically it refers to seeking atonement for a terrible deed, and specifically it refers to Smiths’ character looking to do good things for seven deserving people, and falling for one of them, a lady with a heart condition played by Rosario Dawson.
For some reason I was reminded of a line spoken to Malcolm McDowell‘s Alex in a prison scene from A Clockwork Orange. He’s talking about morality to the rotund minister/priest, and says at one point, “I don’t know about the whys and wherefores, father — I only know I want to be good.”
The director is Gabrielle Muccino, who directed Smith in last year’s Pursuit of Happyness. The script is by Grant Nieporte.

8 thoughts on “Givin’ It Up

  1. actionman on said:

    Yeah, when I first saw the trailer, I was very confused as to what the film was all about. I had heard that it was some sort of inspirational drama but the trailer felt darker, with some menacing musical notes towards the end. It looks OK overall.
    I liked Pursuit for what it was, so I expect this one to fall in line with their previous collaboration.
    Smith has proven, time and time again, that he can open any movie to big box office. So I guess this will be his third blockbuster of the year…?

  2. I’m so glad they managed to squeeze in the shot of Smith screaming in the car in the pouring rain. It wouldn’t be a truly effective drama without it.

  3. Wow. That is some resume for Grant Nieporte. Seems about as ready to write a feature film as Sarah Palin is to be … Actually, this makes me more curious. It must be a work of genuine inspiration.
    Seven Pounds, that is, not Palin.

  4. Ha! This is great. I’m re-reading Bruce Wagner’s “Force Majeure” and thinking how Grant Nieporte’s sitcom-slog-to-Will-Smith-mega-pic trajectory would further destroy poor Bud Wiggins. I guessed the title reference right off the bat (do I get a gold star?)– 7 pounds, 7 people on the list, etc.—but I’m confused, as “Merchant” was a tragedy, and Shylock wanted that flesh literally. This was in the days before liposuction and antibiotics, so even a pound rendered would have probably been fatal. Does Will lose an arm, in the end?

  5. PURSUIT managed to avoid treacle and be a pretty good straightforward drama (though the ending was a little sappy), and I actually still like Will Smith, but I’m getting some bad vibes off this.

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