One of the movies I chose to write about was called “Pay It Forward”. The movie was based on the concept of “The Simplest Idea Can Make the Biggest Difference”. This is achieved by doing good things for other people with three steps. The first is, it has to be something that really helps people. The second is it has to be something they can not do by themselves. Third is if “I” do it for them, they do it for three other people. This is supposed help others by paying a good deed forward, without expecting anything in return.
The piano music that played throughout this movie seemed to exploit the concept of suffering in this movie. It was a difficult movie to get involved in at first. The movie appeared to be very uplifting until you started to realize that the people were struggling with themselves, hence the music played. The conflicts that the actors portrayed lent a very distressing tone to this movie.
The actors themselves performed remarkably well in this movie. Kevin Spacey’s acting in this movie seemed so real and emotional that for a while I was calling him Eugene. Spacey has again proven his greatness as a serious actor. He made you feel like he really was the school teacher whose face had been scarred by his father. Spacey had to wear heavy makeup and delve into this role with ability and dignity. When he is rejected, by his own sense of honor, your heart goes out to the man. Spacey makes you want Eugene to be happy. Eugene was not only struggling to make his students learn valuable lessons of life, he was also struggling with himself and where his life was heading. Could he ever lead a normal life and have a family of his own to love him for who he was. I felt that Kevin Spacey’s acting in this film was very real and made you believe that he became the character he was portraying.
Helen Hunt does a fine job as the recovering alcoholic mom who doesn’t see Eugene as the true savior that he is. She is not quite as convincing as Spacey in portraying her role as the mother who is struggling with internal conflicts, alcoholism and single motherhood. At time she does allow us to escape into her role and make us believe that she is Arlene the mother. Unfortunately, Hunt developed her character as too sympathetic toward Eugene, so her sudden acceptance of the him really doesn’t play true. She’s a working class, single Mom, struggling with adversity (ill kid versus alcohol) and meeting Mr. Right.
The production of this movie is well rounded and realistic. There is very little flashy type material to be found in the movie. The sets were in houses of what you would think of as normal for the family that is being portrayed. Many of the scenes were shot as if one were sitting in the livingroom of the homes. The homelessness was portrayed very realistically, with the fires burning in the barrels to keep them warm. The bonds that the homeless people shared in this movie seemed real and made you think collectively of them as a family, each looking out for the other.
The idea of this movie is not just Christian principles; it represents the parable of the Good Samaritan spreading like wild fire. This movie represents paying forward good things and not expecting anything in return. It took some time to figure out how the Christian symbols fit into this movie, and then it dawned on me that the whole movie is a symbol of what Christians are expected to be.
My final observation on Pay it Forward is that not only is it a more than a worthwhile film, it also promotes a truly inspiring and powerful message that really reminds you about the good in the world and the changes just one individual can make. If one little boy can start to change the world with three small good deeds, why can not the rest of us do our part also.
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