Sunday, November 22, 2009

Movie Review of Seven Pounds

I chose to review the movie Seven Pounds starring Will Smith which was released in 2008. It is a story about a man named Ben Thomas who is suffering with depression and intense guilt from the death of his wife. He was an ambitious work obsessed man that was driving while using his phone when he caused an accident which ended the lives of seven people including his partner. Throughout the movie Ben plans his own death and organizes to improve the life of seven strangers.

Before the accident Ben was a man who had everything though didn’t take time to realize it. It is a theme that has come up time and time again that a man is defined by what he does rather than who he is as a person. Society tells us that men are supposed to be successful bread winners for their family and not emotionally connected to the world and what is going on around them. This type of masculinity brought me back to our time on “Men and the Family” and “Men at Work” as we discussed that men typically are not expected to have strong relationships with their family especially when they are extremely successful in their career. When a person is enormously intelligent and motivated at work it is easy to understand how disconnecting from loved ones and in a way detaching from humanity could happen. We allow these individuals to drift away in their own research and become consumed more and more removed. It is viewed as a positive trait partly because of our capitalized society that dictates that people have to always make; make more, make better then make more of the better. So it’s great when brilliant men from MIT come in early and stay late working on the latest project that will make the company even more profitable and give higher more advanced technology to people of the world. Though society doesn’t look at how that same man neglects himself and his partner he can’t even resist the urge to read an email off of his phone while he’s driving on his way to dinner with the person he loves.

After his tragic accident Ben became incredibly depressed and seemed to be out of contact with many of the people in his life. Mental illness and depression being suffered by males is also something that is often ignored and kept hushed away since asking for help or telling someone that they need to seek help is in some way thought of as un-masculine. Depression and suicide is affecting more and more men yet it is still taboo to actively be concerned for a man’s life and try to get them into counseling or some other professional help. Although Ben was able to trust one friend who promised to help Ben through his process and make sure that his wishes were carried out once he took his own life. This friend seemed to understand that Ben considered his life to be over in a way and reluctantly agreed to help.

Through his path of redemption Ben connects to people that change his life and he searches for ways to change theirs. He looks for good people who help others in their communities, those who are dire need of help and protection and gives all that he can to change their situation. He becomes selfless in his search to find those who were nothing like how he used to be. In his exploration he becomes reconnected with himself and his humanity; he is able to finally open himself up to another. In addition he is able to forgive himself and begin to think about his future though he is too dedicated to his mission. In the end he saves others my sacrificing all that he has. Some might believe that his actions are extremely thought out and generous, on the other hand others could say that he took an easier way because to really deal with his past would have been traumatic and consuming years of his life to be able to move past what had happened and accept what he had lost. I chose to believe that his actions were with the best intent and that he gave all that he had so that he could in a way repent but also help and mend others because he held too much pain to bear. To me this movie is about a man that deals with his tribulations with helping and caring for others and along the way he finds others that save him.

This is a beautiful and touching movie, I’ve tried by best not to give too much of it away so that others will take the time to view it.


Merritt Johnson said...

I loveddd this movie. It was so inspiring hoe he helped so many people with such different needs. He was a strong, powerful black man that gave up his life to save the lives of many. This should have been on the list, because this was ultimate manhood and I loved the way you described it!

Abigail said...

Yes, movies very rarely cast an African American man as a successful working man who is on top of his game and a leader in his field.