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Pay It Forward [DVD] 
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School teacher Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey) sets his class an assignment: they must each think up a way to make the world a better place. This prompts eleven-year-old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) to develop the idea that instead of paying back good deeds, one should instead pay them forward. Putting his idea into practice, Trevor performs an act of kindness for three different people, requiring each of those three to perform three further kindnesses themselves. In doing so he starts a chain reaction which does indeed make the world a better place.
Director Mimi Leder's third movie, Pay it Forward, finds her moving into softer, more intimate territory after making her name with a pair of high-budget action spectaculars, The Peacemaker and Deep Impact. This is a would-be heart-warming fable about the power of human kindness, but it's handled with such heavy sententiousness as to suggest that she might do better sticking to the big-bang stuff. Haley Joel Osment (The Sixth Sense, A.I.), son of a struggling lone parent (Helen Hunt) in Las Vegas, is influenced by inspirational teacher Kevin Spacey to come up with a scheme for social betterment: do acts of benevolence to three people, each of whom then does something good for three more, and so on. Inevitably, the lad's first ventures come to grief, but then the idea starts catching on and spreading, and a reporter in Los Angeles gets wind of it. This Readers Digest-ish scenario, treated with great solemnity by Leder and screenwriter Leslie Dixon, leaves the cast struggling to make something individual out of their pre-cooked roles. As you'd expect given such a line-up of acting talent, several scenes come off better than they deserve, and Spacey in particular does wonders with what is, in effect, two Hollywood clichés rolled into one: not just "offbeat inspirational teacher" but "shy, reclusive burns victim" as well. Interesting, too, to see a Vegas-set movie that shows a low-rent side of the city well away from the glitz and glamour of the Strip. But in the end, all else is drowned out by the clatter of predetermined plot-points being hammered home.
On the DVD: Extras include a commentary from Leder, and a 13-minute "making-of" documentary that includes cast and director interviews. None of it, though, tells us much we couldn't have gathered from the movie. The clean widescreen (1.85:1) print and the Dolby 5.1 sound deliver on quality, and come fully into their own in the all-out bravura finale--shameless tear-jerking on a grand scale. --Philip KempSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
This concept is inspirational! It defines belief, faith and the true spirit of human nature.
Watch it and weep!
an emotionally charged cinematic masterpiece that makes you think (& feel) deeply & personally, whilst questioning the modern world & ALL the relationships surrounding us. Another cinematic treasure that quietly slipped through the metaphorical cinematic net. Unquestionably paralleled with the likes of "Shawshank Redemption". I can't recommend this beautifully & morally indulgent, critically acclaimed, emotional masterpiece highly enough, TIMELESS.
The idea of paying it forward is, by helping someone and that person has to help 3 other persons is a brilliant idea. I believe that in helping others is when we usually find deeper pleasure and meaning in life, therefore, this can make sense.
The actors are very good in this film, probably that's what is worth most in the film which will engage you from the beginning til the end.
It's a very dramatic film and very emotional in some parts, so be prepare for some strong emotions.
casting is impecable , angie dickinson , remarkable .
concept doesnt really work or hold together , but heartwarming .
pleasant viewing , especially insightful on addiction .
jim caviezel is quite incredible , definately oscar material .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
saw this film a long time ago and wanted it for ages, always a tear jerker but great and good moral to the story tooPublished 18 days ago by J
One of my favourite films. Makes you think about life, and review your actions towards other people. Makes you want to be better person a do good. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Lina
I completely escaped from reality for the duration of this emotional and moving masterpiece.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent film! Very enjoyable! Speedy delivery of DVD as well.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer