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4.7 out of 5 stars271
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 18 June 2004
Pay it forwards seems like a simple statement. Is it a form of altruism or does one expect to receive satisfaction if not a direct results from pay it forward? Some people would give the movie stars for the idea without looking at the execution. Others may detract stars because of the primes, calling it a chick flick or some other pansy name.
In execution some see it accomplishing the purpose. While others say that the kid expected a payback, but just did not call it that. It starts off slow and formula. You can second-guess most of the first part of this film with all the stereotypes and clichés. Then it picks up speed and has unique twists, and unexpected reactions.
The ending scenes (which you will never hear from my lips) seem to polarize people further. Some people may go off on some religious tangent while others see that there was no other way to complete the movie. All agree that it is a tear jerkier. I purposely evaded describing any of the scenes as this movie only works if you do not anticipate it. I would recommend watching it once. However I am not sure it is worth collecting.
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VINE VOICEon 29 February 2004
This movie expresses how one soul can touch the masses.
This concept is inspirational! It defines belief, faith and the true spirit of human nature.
Watch it and weep!
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on 9 February 2002
Many reviews accuse this film of being emotionally manipulative. Which films aren't?.Whilst it skates very close to what might be described as sentimentality its own special qualities save it from falling into the swamp. Chief among these is the quality of the acting of the three leads.
The ending appears to cause some critics particular difficulty and I have noticed that their reaction to it is sometimes quite emotional considering their criticism of the manipulative 'sentimentality' of the film. I wonder whether this indicates a greater emotional impact than they would care to admit? Possibly a genuine grief reaction? I was certainly taken by surprise by the power of my own reaction, which I can only put down to a tremendous screen 'presence' built up throughout the movie.
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on 23 March 2006
Pay It Forward is one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen. The most inspiring characteristics of this movie is the actions of one child making a difference in so many lives. Everyone complains about life, but no one really does anything to change it. In "Pay It Forward" you see that one person can really make a difference, not in just one life, but many lives without ever knowing that person. Hayley Joel Osment is an extraordinary actor with such tremendous vision in his role in this movie. Kevin Spacey, gives one of the best performances of his career as the teacher trying to overcome his own insecurities. And Helen Hunt gives a compelling performance in the movie as well.
I think that classrooms around the globe should have students watch "Pay It Forward" to enlighten youngsters to truly make a difference. You never know the true genius that our own children have inside them.
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on 7 August 2005
After months of bugging from my friend to watch this film,i finally gave in,i can honestly say now that i wish i'd seen this film earlier,i love it!!!!!!! im not going to say who it stars (as the other reviews have already said it).
At first,i was a little confused how the scenes would link,as the first scene involves a psycho trying to kill his wife,with basically police around trying to stop him,then a nosey reporter comes into the scene wanting to know the latest happenings blah blah blah(sorry)the psycho then rams his car into the reporters car,and escapes now obviously the reporter cant use his car because its totally wrecked.
All of a sudden a strange man appears offering his jaguar or jagwaa as americans pronounce it.then the reporter basically goes on and on asking the man how can he give him his jaguar just like that?then the man just says that he is paying it forward.yea and then from that the film starts on its journey of finding out about paying it forward,then the scene flicks to 4 months earlier,then flicks to present time as well.
Anyway i loved this film,it made me laugh and cry BUCKET loads (my eyes resembled a panda!)i recomend this film 110% if you want to see a real good film. im going to start paying it forward,and so should you!
XX
0Comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
Shortly after the film opens we see a man stunned by the generosity demonstrated by a complete stranger when he gives him a brand new Jaguar car. The film then jumps back four months and we see the beginning of a chain of events leading up to that moment...

Mr Simonet is a new teacher who sets a piece of interesting homework for the pupils in his class - he asks them to think of something they can do which will change the world. Young Trevor sets his mind on the task and creates a karmic pyramid scheme which will eventually have an impact on himself and those around him. The scheme is a utopian plan where a person does a good deed to three people, they each then do a good deed for three more people, and it continues exponentially.

The film is segmented and we see acts of kindness and characters who seem to have little importance in the plot other than to show how the `pay it forward' scheme works, but as the film develops their significance is revealed. It would have been easy for this film to have been incredibly cheesy, especially when you consider that Trevor comes from a broken home and is trying to get his teacher and mum romantically involved - but the film balances the sentimental with solid characters whose lives are far from perfect. Despite what seems to be a very idealistic scheme to make the world a better place, there's a fair amount of darkness in Pay It Forward.

Kevin Spacey is brilliant as the scarred teacher who hides his disfigurement behind words. He manages to put across the awkwardness and pain of a man who on the surface appears very strong, but underneath lacks confidence. He contrasts perfectly with the brash personality of Trevor's mother, she is played by Helen Hunt who also brings to the film a depth which does justice to a character who is struggling with alcoholism while trying to do the best by her son. The first impression of either character is less than appealing but once you learn about their histories and their motives, you start to really care about what happens to them.

The child devised Pay It Forward scheme adds a unique quirk and to a movie which is a pretty compelling watch anyway because of the strong performances and very personal stories.

In a nutshell: It's easy to make a feel-good film which appeals to the masses, but it's not easy to make such a film which can be taken seriously and tackles so many social issues. This borders on becoming corny Hollywood bilge but instead of looking like obvious over-sentimentalism, it stays grounded by characters you can believe in and reflect life. This is a film about repercussion; not just about passing on acts of goodwill, but how a dark past can affect someone throughout their adult life. There's not a weak performance in Pay It Forward, and it might just make you think.
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on 3 March 2006
I didn't think this film would be any good but sat down and watched it anyway. How I was wrong. This story begins with a guy giving another guy his almost brand new Jaguar for nothing. Just because he was 'paying it forward'. Then it flashes to 4 months ago. One small child is given an assignment in class and with this he 'changes the world', and well he really does. Paying it forward is where instead of doing a favour for someone who did you a favour you do a favour for someone else, you pay it forward rather than pay it back. It shows how this one child helped many other people with their lives. It's a tearjerker and a very touching movie indeed. Recommended to everyone!
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on 23 October 2004
Nice story but the stunning performances from Spacey and Hunt have you on the edge of your seat with intrigue (in a nice way). The only thing wrong with the film is the music score which we thought sounded almost exactly the same as Erin Brockovich (i.e. not good). Despite the music, this is one of those rare films that you will happily watch again and again and therefore well worth the DVD investment.
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on 8 October 2001
We sat down to watch "Pay It Forward" last night because there was nothing else on TV - and were both sucked completely into it.
Both funny, sad, and at times gut-wrenching, this is a feel good film with a kick in the tail. Think "real world" - well, as "real world" as Hollywood is going to get...
Both myself and my wife found ourselves wiping the tears away at the end...
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on 5 August 2015
I haven't watched this film for a while but was talking to my mum about it earlier (my mum who is rubbish at remembering films) we are going to watch it tomorrow! I expect to be in tears as every time I watch it I see something else in the film that makes me cry more. The first time I watched it was in English class and m
Almost all the class were in tears...including the year 9 boys :) great film.
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