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Film / Seven Pounds

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"In seven days, God created the world. And in seven seconds, I shattered mine."

The 2008 film starring Will Smith, Rosario Dawson, Barry Pepper, and Woody Harrelson, to name a few stars.

The film follows the enigmatic Ben Thomas, who spends his time donating whatever organs he can to seven unfortunate people to atone for something that is revealed over the course of the film. During this time, he meets Emily Posa, an ill girl who has both a rare heart condition and a rare blood type. As he soon falls in love with Emily and helps her out, he is soon left with a painful decision that may or may not be easy to figure out, especially when his past comes back to haunt him and the illness worsens for Emily.

This movie shows examples of:

  • Artistic License – Animal Care: Emily is a vegetarian and forced her Great Dane to be one. You need serious, in-depth work with a qualified vet to even attempt that, because dogs naturally want some meat and you'd have to carefully select the foods they get. Just broccoli and tofu would not cut it and the dog would die of malnutrition.
  • Artistic License – Biology: It's extremely doubtful that a box jellyfish could have survived for so long in an unheated jar.
  • Artistic License – Law: There is no legal way for an organ donor to dictate the recipient of the transplant in the manner shown in the film's climax. A living donor can donate to a specific recipient, so the cases of Ben, Holly, George, and the little boy would be permitted, but a would-be postmortem donor generally is not allowed to dictate who their organs will go to, so Tim wouldn't be able to handpick Emily and Ezra to get his organs after his death.
  • Artistic License – Medicine:
    • Tim kills himself with a box jellyfish so that his organs can be donated. Such an act should render all of his organs useless for donation due to them being tainted with jellyfish venom.
    • Ezra's eye color changes from his blue to Tim's brown. In any real life eye transplantation procedure (which never involves transplanting an entire eyeball), this wouldn't be possible, as the iris cannot be safely transplanted.
    • Thomas has sex with a woman dying of a serious heart defect. Clearly that could not have ended badly, and it doesn't in this movie.
  • The Atoner: The reason Tim is giving away his organs is to atone for causing a car crash that killed seven people.
  • Bath Suicide: Using a box jellyfish.
  • Billy Needs an Organ: Emily, who is struggling to get one due to her rare blood type.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Tim successfully kills himself and the ones who know him are mourning. Ben, Emily and Ezra, however, reconnect over what Tim gave them — a second chance at life and to pursue what they love. In their grief, they can find closure.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At least two: the list of names and Tim's pet jellyfish.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Death by jellyfish? Not only painful, but just flat out brutal to watch.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: The reason why Ben demands the IRS credentials back, besides the rather obvious point that Tim is committing fraud in Ben's name. Ben has been worried about his brother's attitude and actions since the accident that killed seven people and is hoping to deliver a wake-up call to him. In a sad dose of realism, it doesn't work.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • You want to donate all your organs to charity, so you inject yourself with a natural neurotoxin. If any of your vital organs are functional after that, it's a damn miracle.
    • To a lesser extent, Tim stealing his brother's IRS credentials to advance the whole plot instead of simply working with Ben to achieve the same results. Ben easily catches up to him, gives him a What the Hell, Hero? about it, and tells him off for trying to play God to atone for his guilt. If Ben weren't his brother and sympathetic, Tim would be in jail for that.
  • Doomed Protagonist: We know from the beginning that the main character will commit suicide.
  • Elder Abuse: Tim decides against donating one of his organs to a retirement home director after finding out the home mistreats their patients.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Once you piece together how Tim will kill himself, it's time to play the waiting game!
  • Happily Married: Dan and his wife clearly are.
  • Heroic Suicide: Tim chooses option B in the Sadistic Choice (see below).
  • Hope Spot:
    • There's a moment where the real Ben confronts Tim, begs for his credentials back, and tells him to stop what he's doing. For a moment, it seems Tim will abandon his quest of Heroic Suicide to save Emily and Ezra. Then Tim turns around, runs away from Emily's house, and commits suicide in his bathtub.
    • Considering how slowly the scene plays out, there's hope that either the paramedics will arrive in time or Tim will back out of committing suicide. Nope. It happens before anyone can arrive.
  • How We Got Here: The film opens with a scene towards the end, where the hero calls in to report his own death. Then we cut back to the beginning of the story to unravel the meaning of this scene.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The film's title is taken from The Merchant of Venice. Tim owes seven people "a pound of flesh" for the seven who died in the accident.
  • The Lost Lenore: Tim's fianceé.
  • Manly Tears: Dan breaks down when Tim calls him and says, "It's time."
  • Meaningful Name: Ezra in Hebrew means "help" or "assistance", hinting to the events at the end of the movie.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Tim never gets to say goodbye to Emily nor his own brother in person, although he leaves them letters.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer left much to be explained about the movie, which was both its charm and its downfall. Some movie fans thought it was nice that it didn't ruin all the plot details; others ended up utterly confused as to what the movie was about. The film itself was like that too, until the very end.
    • To a lot of people the trailer indicated that Tim was a government agent who was recruiting special people for some reason.
  • Oscar Bait: The movie was clearly made with the purpose of winning Smith the Best Actor Academy Award which he didn't get for The Pursuit of Happyness. It didn't even get nominated.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Played with: "Um... it's pink." "It's salmon."
  • The Reveal: Ben is not really Ben. Ben is really Tim Thomas, having stolen his brother Ben's IRS credentials in order to use the privileges and power they carry to assist in his mission of atonement.
  • Sadistic Choice: Tim had one hell of a choice to make: spend a month with the woman you love or kill yourself to give her your heart so she can live out her life to the fullest. Life sucks, dunnit?
  • Secret Test of Character: Tim's abusive phone call to Ezra, who passes the test by not growing a spine. Which is another great lesson. (There is a way to be 'good' and have a spine.) However, while accepting abuse doesn't make you good (something that Film Brain interpreted when he reviewed this film), there's also the alternate explanation that people like Ezra who work in customer service are told to never lash out at customers, no matter what, so Ezra passed the test not for being spineless, but because he remained committed to doing his job correctly even after Tim baited him.
  • Sexy Discretion Shot: Probably one of the most beautiful, heartfelt love scenes since Meet Joe Black.
  • Survivor Guilt: Tim is the only survivor of the car crash. He attempts to ease his guilt by giving away practically every internal organ he can spare. And one he can't.
    • There Are No Therapists: He also never seems to seek out professional help to get over this unbearable, life-changing trauma.
  • Vegetarian Carnivore: Emily claims her Great Dane is one of these which is a case of Artistic License – Animal Care.
  • Wham Line: When we hear his brother calling him Tim, we realize that Tim has been impersonating his brother, who is an IRS agent. Then what's more, Tim was the engineer who wanted to fly