wogma rating: Watch if you have nothing better to do (?)
Will Smith stars in a film aimed at emptying your lachrymal glands.Read more
The Pursuit of Happiness (or was it Happyness?) was Director Gabriele Muccino’s previous film that played on screens in India. Ostensibly, it made a decent amount of money. Mr. Muccino attempts to return to familiar territory, and this latest is called Seven Pounds. It has Hollywood’s most bankable African American star Will Smith (a thousand pardons, Lawrence Fishburne and Morgan Freeman) and proceeds to navigate the same terrain, that of the heart.(see the film and you will understand!)
The script adopts the following structure: Will Smith’s character, Ben Thomas is introduced; we see the actions that he carries out, actions that seem to make no sense at first. We understand that there is something that he wants and needs, but the script gives no clues, barring a hint here and a hint there (though even an imbecile could piece it all together).
At least that is how the scriptwriter and the director intended it, I assume. The glorious resolution in the end, would in their understanding, leave the viewer with such a feeling of epiphany, that all else would pale before it. Alack and alas, that is not how the film plays out.
Will Smith is all angular and hollow eyed, and attempts a forlorn air, as he goes about his duties. We see him playing God, with eyes that are brimming with unshed tears and a tattered air of desperation. How good is his act? Woeful to say the least and woe betide the viewers. His efforts to look miserable distress the audience.
Ben enters into relationships with other people; the problem of the script is that in order to make sure that your heart is in the right place and that it is suitably moved, the director / script mandates that there be the most wonderful of human emotions (and a sure Box office magnet), Romantic Love, present. This development unfortunately feels too orchestrated and forced, and ensures that the film necessarily loses track of the other characters, except to show them for a minute or two.
It is then Romance all the way, a very special romance. We suddenly get to see a lot of honey golden frames; the two protagonists are framed in soft dewy light, and we have all the clichés that you can throw in – candles, the dinner, sweet gifts, the cute dog, and of course the bed. All of it is very predictable; the script is just setting us up at that point.
As Ben gets more and more desperate, so do we. When will it end, possibly thinks Ben, and we could not agree more. The time does come, thankfully, and the movie then wends its way into a climax so preposterous, that we would need a whole truck load of the good old fashioned liquid to recover. And then come the tears, literally. Everyone in the film cries and continues to cry in all sorts of places, to the accompaniment of a softly gurgling piano. Having done this most noble deed, that is, bring the film to its “logical” conclusion, the director then bids us farewell.
Should you watch it? Yes, definitely, if you want to see an infinitely sad Will Smith in each and every frame. You would also want to watch it, in case you are trying to make an impression on the sweet something next door, and show her that you are a person of refinement and deep sensitivity. For the rest of us boors, best avoided.
PS What was Woody Harrelson doing in this film? Oh Tempera! (It is definitely not Oprah!)
This review is by guest reviewer Anand S. Anand lives in Pune and is a Miscellaneous Culture Vulture. He is deeply interested in music, food, books, films, and intelligent women. He views himself as a Falstaffian figure, who does his best to indulge his appetites.
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
An aerospace engineer, who has it all, commits a grave error and sets out to seek redemption.
The background score has one or two soft voiced songs sung in Spanish. Worth listening to.