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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pyramid scheme of the golden rule
Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is a struggling pre-teen. His mother, Arlene (Helen Hunt) is a recovering alcoholic, his father Ricki (Jon Bon Jovi) is an absent, abusive deadbeat and they live in a run-down house with nothing but sadness around them. Trevor is inspired by his teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), who has a struggle not so easy to hide from others...
Published on Jan. 22 2004 by Shelley Gammon

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3.0 out of 5 stars Sappy Rhymes With Cnappy
I usually check out Helen Hunt's films. Her lips are thin, she knows how to act, and she reminds me a heck of a lot of my current spouse's youngest sister (who is quite a hottie). Anyhow, this is a pretty predictable sob story from the get go. The acting is good, although the kid (Haley Donnie Osmond) isn't too good and delivers his lines like he has about 315 too many...
Published on Nov. 1 2003 by Hoppy Doppelrocket


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars pyramid scheme of the golden rule, Jan. 22 2004
By 
Shelley Gammon "Geek" (Kaufman, Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pay It Forward (VHS Tape)
Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) is a struggling pre-teen. His mother, Arlene (Helen Hunt) is a recovering alcoholic, his father Ricki (Jon Bon Jovi) is an absent, abusive deadbeat and they live in a run-down house with nothing but sadness around them. Trevor is inspired by his teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), who has a struggle not so easy to hide from others. He has burn scars on his face that often scare others away and this has made him so self conscious, his only friends are his students and he avoids contact (romantic or otherwise) with adults for fear of rejection.
Eugene proposes taking the Golden Rule ("do unto others....") to action - so that every time someone does something for you, you do something for someone else you don't even know. Trevor decides to push the first domino by doing good deeds for those he doesn't know and before you know it, it has become a nation-wide trend to "pay it forward."
Behind the scenes, Trevor becomes a little matchmaker. He knows his mother needs a caring man to take care of her and that Eugene needs a caring woman to take care of him. He sees potential in them for romance, while keeping his teacher as his mentor instead of leaving him behind as he advances to the next grade level.
There is a lot of schmaltz in this film, everyone is either a demon or a philosopher. Even the crack addict on the street can quote Shakespeare and emote warm fuzzies to the point you feel your eyes roll up - but the acting of Spacey, Hunt & Osment make this into a bittersweet, inspirational tale.
Despite the warm fuzzies, there is language, violence and sex - so this one is not for the kids.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One small act can change the world, March 8 2012
By 
Steven Aldersley (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pay It Forward / Payez au suivant (Bilingual) (DVD)
Pay It Forward (2000)
Drama, Romance, 123 minutes
Directed by Mimi Leder
Starring Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment

Pay It Forward follows two storylines. The first is introduced in the opening scene when a reporter sees a car crash into his own while it is parked. A complete stranger throws him the keys to a brand new Jaguar. The second story begins four months earlier when 11-year-old Trevor (Osment) is given a school assignment by his teacher, Mr. Simonet (Spacey).

Here's the assignment:

"Think of an idea to change our world - and put it into ACTION!"

That sounds simple enough, doesn't it? The assignment is designed to inspire the students to make some small attempt to change something within their power, but Trevor takes it literally. He finds a homeless man, takes him home, feeds him, and allows him to sleep in the garage. His alcoholic mother, Arlene (Hunt), meets the man the following morning when Trevor invites him in to use the shower. Arlene is not pleased.

People just don't take those kind of chances in the real world. The homeless man is a junkie and his arms are covered in needle marks. What if he is violent or mentally ill? But, what if he's just down on his luck and one small act of kindness could change his life? How do we know the results of our own actions? One smile or kind word at the right time could change someone's mood or make a much bigger difference.

Trevor's idea isn't that simple. He vows to help three people, but these acts of kindness have to be something big. He tries to set up Mr. Simonet with his mother and wants to prevent a friend from being bullied at school. Simonet and Arlene provide the romantic element in the movie. Simonet has burns all over his face and Arlene works two jobs and struggles to stay sober. These characters are deeply flawed, but Trevor thinks he can improve both their lives.

The second part of the idea requires the three people he helps to each do favors for three other people. He calls it paying it forward. We see some of the people who are helped and watch them try to help others. We're also shown the other story thread as the reporter follows the trail back to Trevor. Some of the revelations are quite astounding.

In a way, this idea is similar to advertising. If you help someone and ask them to help others in return, you can't be sure that they will honor your request. If they do honor it, there's no guarantee you will ever know. It could happen months or years in the future. The idea is planted like a seed, just like an advertisement. Have you ever bought something months later because of an advertisement you once saw or heard about?

It's unusual to see Spacey play such a regular guy. He's not cast as a cool criminal, an angry boss, or a rebellious employee; he's unsure of himself and a bit of a loser. Hunt doesn't exactly look glamorous either. The relationship seems authentic because these two people desperately need somebody in their lives. Angie Dickinson makes a brief appearance, but plays her role convincingly.

Some of the best ideas in history seemed simple. Couldn't pay it forward really work if we just allowed ourselves to believe? Doesn't everyone have some good in them? It's been 12 years since the movie was made and the world seems the same, so I can only assume that the idea hasn't caught on. But for two hours, why not allow yourself to believe that it's possible? Some of the stories are touching and remarkable, while others are extremely sad.

Mimi Leder tells a very human story and gives us characters who seem real. The acting is as good as you would expect from the exceptional talent on display. Another key ingredient is Thomas Newman's score, which reminds me of his work on American Beauty, also starring Spacey.

Pay It Forward is a touching emotional drama with a strong story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay it Forward, May 9 2010
By 
Bernard A. Oliver "Bernie o" (St.John's ,NL. Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
this is our second time watching the movie PAY IT FORWARD. we found it an excellent movie and recommended it highly to our fiends.should be more movies of this kind instead of the garbage thats out there today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful addition to a spiritual film library, Feb. 13 2010
We have a large, and well thought out film library at A Home Away. All of our films are recovery or spiritually based. Pay It Forward was a natural addition, and it has been very well received. Our guests come broken and looking for a new way to live. This film is all about broken people looking for love and acceptance in the world in new and healthy ways. The characters are very real. The portrayal of alcoholism and all of its bafflement is very accurate.

This film brings tears to eyes, and hope to hearts. It reinforces one of my favorite sayings, "don't give up 5 minutes before the miracle happens".

I recommend this film for everyone.

Jane Derry
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5.0 out of 5 stars The power of a single, selfless act can change the world- one person at a time!, March 8 2014
This review is from: Pay It Forward / Payez au suivant (Bilingual) (DVD)
Life is complicated to say the least and it's easy to fall into the traps of addiction, weakness, indifference... This story shines in its depiction of a young boy that dares to try to make a difference. As a father of 4, I found it reminded me of the remarkable clarity kids have at times and the confidence they have in trying what most adults would think impossible. Truly inspiring to watch an idea turn into a movement despite some very heart wrenching events. One of my favorite movies of all time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful and Touching Movie, March 6 2014
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This review is from: NEW Pay It Forward (DVD) (DVD)
This movie from 2000 is a truly inspiring and touching story with superb acting. It is a tear jerker, so keep those tissues handy. I saw this movie on Netflix and just had to have the video.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great., Feb. 27 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Came in great, in fact, new packaging. Only problem was it was a bit late but not seller's problem. Weather issues!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, July 28 2014
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This review is from: NEW Pay It Forward (DVD) (DVD)
Excellent storyline!
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5.0 out of 5 stars great timing!, Jan. 7 2012
The DvD I ordered came in good time and was just as pictured and described. Thank you, seller! Would order from again!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe, love can win, Oct. 10 2011
This review is from: Pay It Forward / Payez au suivant (Bilingual) (DVD)
Creative, original story, and all three of the leads are excellent, Hunt, the young single mom, vulnerable, dysfunctional, but still trying, Spacey, the physically scarred, sullen loner, hiding among the only real people he can find - schoolchildren, and Osmont as the kid who wants and needs so much to believe in the good in the world that he pulls the cynics to him. You may think your own cynicism is set in cement, but you may think again. You may even light a candle of your own. It's that good.
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