Pay it Forward
Reviewed by David Kashimba

Itís a simple formula that starts with you. All you have to do is help three people in some way. It can be as exciting as rescuing someone from a dangerous situation or you could simply give them something they need. You ask nothing for yourself, but you ask each person you help to ďpay it forwardĒ or help three others. In this way what starts as one person committing three random acts of kindness quickly grows to 9, 27, 81, etc. and the world rapidly becomes a kinder, gentler place to live.

Sounds too idealistic to work in the real world? Perhaps but what do you have to lose by trying?

A great scientist didnít create the formula. It was the idea of 11-year-old Trevor, played by Haley Joel Osment in Pay it Forward. Inspired by his social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet (Kevin Spacey), who asks his class to look at the world around you and fix what you donít like, Trevorís idea provided a ray of hope in his bleak world. With alcoholic parents and a father (Jon Bon Jovi) who has abandoned him and his mother (Helen Hunt), Trevor sees a lot that he doesnít like but quickly finds that trying to fix people isnít easy.

There are some very powerful performances by Spacey, Osment and Hunt in this film based on the novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Though the script can sometimes be too sentimental, these performances, coupled with a good story and great attention to detail in direction and setting, make this a film well worth seeing. And for those sentimental folks in the audience, who still believe in the synergy of performing random acts of kindness, this film will keep your hopes alive.

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