Nov 29, 2011

Pay it forward, 2000

Pay it forward, 2000
Director: Mimi Leder
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment

Stage: home TV selection on a fine Tuesday evening

Pay it forward in short:
Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.

Preps: This is a must see. I have seen it several times and this time I am going to submerge the piece to my critical eye.

Reality: As said, this is one of Hollywood's classics. Most of my friends must have seen this already. It has the most exquisite genuine idea I have experienced again and again as I was watching this for several times. To give good and receive good should be one of the practical views in every person's soul. However, the idea starts with a teacher, brilliantly played by Spacey, where he wants to implement the seed into his young students. What can anyone do to change the world? And not meaning with this to flush the toilet once per day to skip water usage during the day. Or collect garbage. Per se, I do have an example which resembles Pay it forward approach. A slovenian youngster wrote some time ago about the movement, where you collect trash. A piece of trash per day. And more people joined in an instant, than he ever imagined. So we have collected trash every day and crowds are joining the movement. Ergo, we have a cleaner place to live in.
The analogy with pay it forward approach is inevitable. However, this piece describes doing a favor to someone that cannot do this or cannot achieve this by him/herself. Which means the responsibility of the carrier to recognize the things that come in question. And for the receiver not to put it on a silver plate. Normally these things have something in common with our fears, feelings, shameful stuff we don't want to disclose, etc. In some reality examples from this piece we face some prisoners being let go, some taxi drives being made for free, a homeless person getting a meal.. there is a lot of good that this movie spreads and you cannot help it, you need to let it also in your heart.
The side story (by this I mean love between the mother and teacher) becomes pretty irrelevant comparing it to the big deed this pay it forward approach can leave on the viewer. However, the story about a new potential relationship gets also profound, because we are dealing with very damaged individuals that are trying to put the puzzles of the life back together. Also a perspective you will think about when you see the piece.

Still, the main red thin line in the movie and also the thing to think about while and after watching is doing good to other people or live creatures. Finally, a pyramid that works for human wellbeing, as oppose to other commercial ones.

My personal rate: 8,0 (a classic must see. Will make you shiver within your soul at some scenes. And leave a warm feeling you need to do something as well).

Pay it forward on IMDB

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