Only occasionally do I review a film on this blog. I aim to do it more - talk about the films that intersect with my life and shape me (as well as the inevitable film biz news from time to time). But Seven Pounds is certainly a film worthy of my time. (No spoilers here, don't worry!)
My delightful roommate, Amanda, wrote a blog post about this, she told me. However, I have not read it yet. You may read it though, if you like, here. I have a tendency to write in reaction to other people's ideas instead of creating my own and expressing them fully uncensored by others' thoughts. So I shall attempt that here and then compare notes with my brilliant and artistic roomie. (:
Seven Pounds was ideal.
From a business perspective, it has held its own, while not becoming a huge hit. Makes sense given its subject matter and positioning in the market. People aren't as into dreary movies with the economy, war, general state of the world.
I wouldn't call Seven Pounds "dreary" per se. More like thoughtful, heart-wrenching, satisfied, sacrificial, beautiful and tortured.
It was one of those films where you leave and you feel cleansed. Like you know the way the world is supposed to be. Or you come in contact with Truth, in its many forms, and you feel like you've sat in its presence. These are the reasons I make movies. To watch a film and get lost in the story of redemption that tells a compelling story of the way we should interact with each other.
I shan't give away too much of the plot, because that is the full experience - to enter into the film with limited knowledge and to see the story unravel and unfold before you. I loved piecing together what Will Smith's character, Ben, was doing.
His interactions with characters were exquisite as he helps an elderly woman in a nursing home, reaches out to a Latino family (speaking fluent Spanish!! yay), goes through so much to help a dying woman and child. But in the film it is obvious that he is driven by grief. Perhaps this intrigues me as well, what a man's soul will do in penance for guilt and out of desire to do something good with his remaining time on Earth.
The shots were beautiful and thoughtful - the kind of cinematography that I appreciate. The score was equally haunting and perfect, the music like a off-beat heart, rhythmic and pacing. The pace was appropriate, and the story revealed piece by piece.
It made me think of this - what would I give up in my life to truly affect someone so much? Would I let someone into my house to live? Give them the clothes off my back? "Bleed myself dry" as the Coldplay song goes. How does that kind of radical love and sacrifice look for me? For you? As Rob Bell mentions in his latest book Jesus Wants to Save Christians, redemption and love for people looks different for every person/gathering.
I want to explore this more in the coming weeks.
As for Seven Pounds, go see it! You may not like it as much as I did (I always caution people against expecting too much out of things), but I hope you will also see how brilliantly everything comes together to tell a story about tortured love.
My filmmaker self of course also loves to think about how much development the story underwent to make it so watertight, how they attached the actors, the collaboration between the different production companies that brought the financing together, etc. Such a producer! (;
Happy 2009, my friends! Here is to living and loving in our communities with commitment and strength! May you understand what that means for you and your friends.