Seven Pounds

Seven Pounds Information

Seven Pounds is a 2008 film, directed by Gabriele Muccino, in which Will Smith stars as a man who sets out to change the lives of seven people. Rosario Dawson, Woody Harrelson, and Barry Pepper also star. The film was released in theaters in the United States and Canada on December 19, 2008, by Columbia Pictures. Despite generally negative reviews from critics it was a box office success, grossing $168,168,201 worldwide.


Two years ago, Tim Thomas (Will Smith), sending a text message while driving, caused a car crash in which seven people died: six strangers and his fiancee, Sarah Jenson (Robinne Lee). In a bid for redemption, Tim sets out to save the lives of seven good people, although this goal only becomes clear near the end of the film, or earlier for those viewers who are able to piece together the clues offered in flashbacks throughout the film.

A year after the crash, having quit his job as an aeronautical engineer, Tim donates a lung lobe to his brother, (Michael Ealy), an IRS employee. Six months later he donates part of his liver to a social services worker named Holly (Judyann Elder). After that, he begins searching for more candidates to receive donations. He finds George (Bill Smitrovich), a junior hockey coach, and donates a kidney to him, and donates bone marrow to a young boy named Nicholas (Quintin Kelley).

Two weeks before he dies, he contacts Holly and asks if she knows anyone who deserves help. She suggests Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), who lives with an abusive boyfriend. Tim moves out of his house and into a local motel, taking with him his pet box jellyfish. One night, after being beaten, Connie contacts Tim and he gives her the keys and deed to his beach house. She takes her two children and they move into their new home.

Having stolen his brother's credentials, and making himself known by his brother's name Ben, he checks out candidates for his two final donations. The first is Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson), a blind meat salesman who plays the piano. Tim calls Ezra Turner and harasses him at work to check if he is quick to anger. Ezra remains calm and Tim decides he is worthy.

He then contacts Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), a self-employed greeting card printer who has a heart condition and a rare blood type. He spends time with her, weeding her garden and fixing her rare Heidelberg Windmill press. He begins to fall in love with her and decides that, as her condition has worsened, he needs to make his donation.

Tim's brother Ben tracks him down at Emily's house, demanding that Tim return Ben's IRS credentials. After an interlude with Emily, Tim leaves her sleeping and returns to the motel. He fills the bathtub with ice water to preserve his vital organs, climbs in, and commits suicide by pulling his box jellyfish into the water with him. His friend Dan (Barry Pepper) acts as executor to ensure that his organs are donated to Emily and Ezra. Ezra Turner receives his corneas and Emily receives his heart. Afterward, Emily meets Ezra at his concert at a park, and they begin to talk.


Seven Pounds is based on a script written by Grant Nieporte under Columbia Pictures. In June 2006, Will Smith joined the studio to star in the planned film and to serve as one of its producers. In September 2007, director Gabriele Muccino, who worked with Smith on The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), was attached to direct Seven Pounds, bringing along his creative team from the 2006 film. Smith was joined by Rosario Dawson and Woody Harrelson the following December to star in Seven Pounds. Filming began in February 2008.

Most of the film was shot in Los Angeles, Pasadena, California and Malibu, California. Points of interest used in the film include the Travel Inn in Tujunga, California, the Colorado Bar, The Huntington Library, The Sheraton and The Pasadena Ice Skating Rink all in Pasadena, as well as Malibu Beach in Malibu.


  • Will Smith as Tim Thomas, under the identity of Ben Thomas.
  • Michael Ealy as Ben Thomas, Tim's brother and an IRS agent.
  • Barry Pepper as Dan Morris, Tim's friend and executor of his will.
  • Rosario Dawson as Emily Posa, a self-employed greeting card printer and Tim's love interest.
  • Octavia Spencer as Kate, Emily's caring nurse.
  • Woody Harrelson as Ezra Turner, a blind meat salesman who plays the piano.
  • Elpidia Carrillo as Connie Tepos, a woman in a battered relationship with her boyfriend.
  • Judyann Elder as Holly, a child services employee.
  • Bill Smitrovich as George, a junior hockey coach.
  • Quintin Kelly as Nicholas, a child.
  • Robinne Lee as Sarah Jenson, Tim's fiancee
  • Madison Pettis as Connie's daughter
  • Rocio Del Mar Sevilla Ortiz
Smith described the reason he took on the role: </ref>}}

Smith felt that the character needed to be a quiet and rather introverted person who does not burn himself out at every possible instance. The character was a contrast to Smith's previous characters, and Smith felt that director Gabriele Muccino's trust in him helped him relax and avoid overextending himself. Smith acknowledged Seven Pounds as a drama film, but he saw it as more of a love story.

Will Smith handpicked Ealy for the role of the main character's brother. Connor Cruise, the son of actor Tom Cruise and actress Nicole Kidman, was cast in his first role as a younger version of Tim Thomas.


Prior to the film's release, the title Seven Pounds was considered a "mystery" which the studio refused to explain. Early trailers for Seven Pounds kept the film's details a mystery. Director Gabriele Muccino explained the intent: "The [audience] will not know exactly what this man is up to." Will Smith is reported to have confirmed that the title refers to Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which a debtor must pay a pound of flesh. In this case, it amounts to seven gifts to seven individuals deemed worthy by Smith's character, to atone for seven deaths he caused.


Seven Pounds was promoted on a five-city tour across the United States in November 2008, screening in Cleveland, Miami, Dallas, St. Louis, and Denver to raise funds for food banks in each region. The film was promoted at a charity screening in Minneapolis in support of Second Harvest Heartland. Since screenings of new films usually took place in Los Angeles or New York City, the choice of cities was unconventional. Smith said, "This is more like the old-school music tours. Different clubs, different cities, meeting people. You get in touch with what people are feeling and thinking, and it's much more personal when you're actually out shaking hands." The actor sought to "get reacquainted" with an America that he felt had an "openness to change" with the country's election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president.

The film was released on December 19, 2008 in 2,758 theaters in the United States and Canada. It grossed an estimated $16 million, placing second at the weekend box office after Yes Man. The opening gross was the lowest for a film starring Smith since Ali in 2001. The gross was $5 million less than anticipated, partially ascribed to winter storms in the Northeast over the weekend.

Home media release

The film was released on DVD on March 31, 2009, by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The film is also available to rent or buy on the PlayStation Network in standard or high definition format. , in North American DVD sales, the film has grossed $28,812,423.

Critical reception

The film received mostly negative reviews from critics. The film review website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 26% based upon a sample of 185 reviews with an average score of 4.6/10 At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film has received an average score of 36 based on 33 reviews.

Varietys film reviewer Todd McCarthy predicted that the movie's climax "will be emotionally devastating for many viewers, perhaps particularly those with serious religious beliefs," and characterized the film as an "endlessly sentimental fable about sacrifice and redemption that aims only at the heart at the expense of the head." A. O. Scott, writing for The New York Times, said that the movie "may be among the most transcendently, eye-poppingly, call-your-friend-ranting-in-the-middle-of-the-night-just-to-go-over-it-one-more-time crazily awful motion pictures ever made."

Positive reviews singled out Dawson's performance; Richard Corliss wrote in Time that Dawson gives "a lovely performance," while Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Dawson's performance "shows once again that she has it in her to be the powerhouse." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times commented on the fact that the audience is kept completely out of the loop as to what Tim is doing, comparing the film to Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samourai, pointing out how he "finds this more interesting than a movie about a man whose nature and objectives are made clear in the first five minutes, in a plot that simply points him straight ahead."

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