Pay It Forward (2000)

Entertainment Rating: 4 of 5

This was more of a tear-jerker than I remembered, but still held a really good message with it (not just emotion-manipulating scenes and scores). Nothing was Romanticized or made to appear larger-than-life, which made it a really down-to-earth movie, easily enjoyed and we recommend it.

Moral Rating: 4 of 5

Trevor’s plan to change the world was set up perfectly. He was discouraged at first by apparent failure in each of his endeavors to “do something big” for someone else. Even though he was discouraged he never lost hope in the people he loved (and ultimately found it more worthwhile to focus on those close to him, rather than someone he happened to on the street).

Another important aspect of the film was the fact that most of the good deeds weren't made public and a lot of the time immediate results weren't seen.  We need to learn to do good for the sake of doing good and trust that the seeds are planted even if we don't get to see the outcome of our kindness.

We see Trevor’s mom in a typical abusive relationship, where she’s easily led to believe that her husband has “really changed.” Too many people return back to broken relationships in hopes that it can be repaired, choosing to fall back into an already existing (albeit dangerous) relationship. It seems to require too much courage and “putting one-self on the line” to make the needed change and redirection of one’s life toward progression. The scene where Mr. Simonet explains to Trevor’s mom where he got his burns is a perfect example of this battle many people face.

While this is a movie about a kid, the themes in the film are for a more mature audience.

The movie is based on a fictional novel from which the author started the Pay It Forward Foundation in hopes of spurring a movement similar to what was depicted in the story.

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