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(2008), PG-13 [Lite PG-13*] (1hr 56min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
August 3, 2009
August 9, 2009

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2008), PG-13 [Lite PG-13*] ... as high a PG-13-equivalent score as possible.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Columbia Pictures (presents), Relativity Media, Overbrook Entertainment, Escape Artists
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Director(s): Gabriele Muccino
Producer(s): Molly Allen, Todd Black, David J. Bloomfield, Jason Blumenthal, David Crockett, James Lassiter, Domenico Procacci, Will Smith, Steve Tisch
Written by: Grant Nieporte
Cinematography/Camera: Philippe Le Sourd
Music: Angelo Milli
Film Editing: Hughes Winborne
Casting: Denise Chamian Angela Demo
Production Design: J. Michael Riva
Art Direction: David F. Klassen
Viewed on Sony Pictures Home Entertainment DVD

This film analysis is sponsored by the generosity of E&HP.

Seven Pounds earned as high a PG-13-equivalent score as possible. The range of scores earned by PG-13 films in the comparative baseline database is 55 to 67 out of 100. Seven Pounds is truly R-equivalent in Wanton Violence/Crime (W-40) and Impudence/Hate (I-34) and moderate PG in Offense to God (O-77) but is lite G-equivalent in Drugs/Alcohol (D-97) and hard G in Murder/Suicide (M-91). The only investigation area that found content to be equivalent to PG-13 films in the comparative baseline database was Sexual Immorality (S-66) All the six investigation area scores mix to present a final score of 67 out of 100 to make Seven Pounds a lite PG-13-equivalent film in magnitude or overall morality. But remember, if any of the CAP investigation areas find content to be equivalent in magnitude to the same area content in some R-rated films, the subject film should be considered R-equivalent since a part of it is.

From Room 2 of the motel at 9212 West Third Street, Los Angeles aeronautical engineer Ben Thomas, sobbing, calls late one evening for an ambulance to respond to a suicide -- his. This scene is a cinematic device some writers use where a key portion of a later part of the film is played up front then replays it at is intended point. Nearly a hour and a half later it is seen again. This technique is like showing you in advance a few assembled pieces of a puzzle that make little if any sense which make perfect sense once all the pieces around the puzzle portion are in place, when the final few pieces need to be placed.

For most of this hint-of-a-thriller but mostly moody film, it is challenging to determine just what Ben is ... and is not. The call to the police about Ben's pending suicide is an emotional introduction to Ben. Here Ben is a victim of himself.

Soon the story moves into its prescribed flow and from much earlier in the show begins with introducing Ben professionally as an aeronautical engineer. However, not long after that we see Ben as a Revenue Officer for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): a "friendly neighborhood tax collector" in Ben's words. But something is amiss. Ben's brother (Michael Ealy) is an IRS Revenue Officer. One day after Ben visits with his brother, something of Ben's brother's is missing -- Ben's brother's IRS credentials. I keep saying "Ben's brother" not using his name, but it will make sense why when more pieces of this part of the puzzle are assembled -- but never completely assembled. There is yet more amiss. When Ben met again with his brother face to face, Ben calls his brother "Ben." And Ben's brother calls Ben "Tim." Now there is a whodunit cinematic device.

Ben has suffered a terrible and horrific loss and has caused a terrible and horrific loss ... times seven. How is Ben to make right his wrong? The film takes about 100 of its 116 minutes to reveal how he does ... if he does. There is a lot of room for interpretation created by this often depressing film. Though it won't make much sense in this non-spoiler discussion of the film, God told us that there is no greater love than for a man to give his life for another [John 15:13], but does that include what is done in this film -- or how? Remember, God made murder a sin [Deut. 5:17], including murder of the self.

It has been a very long time since I have seen award-winning Woody Harellson, the once husband of Nancy Simon, Neil Simon's daughter. In Seven Pounds Woody does a great job at playing Ezra Turner, a polite and gentle blind phone sales representative for Cheyenne Meats. With Ben returning from an ocean dip to his opulent beach front home, he read the riot act to Ezra because of bad meat. Ben is not happy with himself about the meanness he has shown to Ezra and for the wrong he has done. He throws a violent tantrum spouting the names of the seven victims of his wrong. Ben wears interchangeable masks. Most of the time Ben wears the sad face of the comedy/tragedy pair of faces.

Why Ben next searches for Emily Posa (Roasario Dawson) is not well defined at this point in the film, but this first episode of several like it starts to define Ben's focus: to find good people or they who have fallen on hard times. Emily certainly has fallen on hard times. Congenital heart failure gives her about a month to six weeks to live.

Emily needs a new heart. Ezra needs new eyes. Holly (Judyann Elder) needed a partial liver transplant. Connie (Elpidia Carrillo) needs a new place to get away from her nearly murderous boyfriend. Young Nicholas (Quintin Kelley) needed a bone marrow transplant. George (Bill Smitrovich) needed a new kidney. How is Ben to make right his wrong? And how does a jellyfish enter into making right his wrong, at least in Ben's eyes? If you do not have enough information here it make that determination, I have done well in this summary and will I'll leave that discovery up to you should you decide the content we reveal is fit for viewing.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 40 out of 100
If you watch this film it may be hard to accept that this area of the film content is R-equivalent. The R-equivalence is because of the use of so many of the "lesser" kinds of violence that the magnitude of their influence is, for the lack of a better term, morally invisible. While a couple of the individual items of violence are of the strongly graphic type as in most R-rated films, most are not. Most are of the "lesser" kind but there are so many of the "lesser" kind that they, combined with the couple extreme examples, make the magnitude of the violence/criminal content R-equivalent. The itemized list of violent and criminal deeds in the Findings/Scoring section should awaken you to the plethora of little digs at wholesome morality which should help you grasp the total magnitude of content applicable to this investigation area. I'll present a few of them here. Planning suicide throughout with repeating footage. Invasive investigations. Graphic motor vehicle collision and replays of it. A woman's face hitting the ground -- hard. Impersonating a Federal officer. God is not in favor of us feeding our minds with violence or criminal behavior. [Hab. 2:12, Prov. 16:29]

Impudence/Hate (I) - 34 out of 100
Twelve times someone utters a form of profanity [Col. 3:8]. Ben coaches Ezra to be aggressive and angry and uses a hateful string of name-calling at Ezra [Prov. 22:11]. Lies are spoken throughout [Rev. 21:8]. And Ben practices invasion of privacy. That is about all there is in content applicable to this investigation area, but that is enough content to cause loss of about three quarters of the starting 100 pints in this area.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 66 out of 100
Will is seen in a shower again as he was seen in I, Robot but at least this time the viewer must only tolerate Will from the chest up instead of his full rear nudity in I, Robot. Nonetheless, Smith is in a shower and we all know the typical state of dress in a shower ... even little kids know.

Aside from that, Smith and Dawson are seen a number of times caressing each other after stripping each other, while lying on a bed. Though no gender-specific parts are seen, often times in cinema implication is as strong as direct revealment. In other words, though private parts are not visible it is clear what the two are doing. In addition, a number of innuendo and remarks about sexual matters freckle the script. [Hebr. 13:4]

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 97 out of 100
Only one time is a character seen with an alcoholic drink.

Offense to God (O) - 77 out of 100
God's name is abused four times, twice with the four letter expletive and twice without it. While we as a people toss around His name as if it were just another word, God is quite serious about using His name in vain. So serious that s/he who abuses his name (by His standards) will not be held guiltless. [Deut. 5:11] With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it and the misuse of Jesus' name or title.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100 While there are no murders noted in the entire 116 minutes of this film, Ben commits suicide in quite probably the most painful way known to man. God has warned us the so one may murder anyone. Including one's self. Suicide is murder of the self. [Deut. 5:17] And suicide is not something to play with in and as entertainment. Even in fantasy, portrayal of it has power to embolden and to desensitize.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. ["Man" in John 15:13 are oudeis, which includes oudemia (female) and tis, an enclitic (with little emphasis) indefinite pronoun meaning "any" or "one", male or female.]
  • Deut. 5:17 Thou shalt not kill ["kill" is ratsach {raw-tsakh'}: murder, slay, premeditated, as avenger].
  • Hab. 2:12 Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood, and stablisheth a city by iniquity! [A "town" as used in Hab. 2:12 is iyr, is a place guarded by walking and excitement or anguish of terror and is linked to genea, a group of men/people very like each other in endowments, pursuits and character; to "perverse nation." A "city", qiryah, includes a collective and is linked to qarah, meaning to meet, to encounter, to befall. By these definitions "town" and "city" can be applied to crime since "iniquity", lwe, is injustice, wickedness, perverseness, unrighteousness, wrong; violent deeds of injustice.]
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" it might seem, and its effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be a man or woman or child, the act of demonstrating violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health agencies to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice (ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.), blasphemy (injurious speech, slander in this use), filthy communication [foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the {unforgiven} fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable [vile], and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. All unforgiven liars that is. God is rather stern and harsh about lying. We would do well to pay attention to what He tells us.]
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure [which includes before and during marriage and gender], for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. [Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not. The bottom line is that any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sin.]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive.]
  • Deut. 5:17 Thou shalt not kill ["kill" is ratsach {raw-tsakh'}: murder, slay, premeditated, as avenger].

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Seven Pounds (2008) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 40 out of 100
  • planning suicide throughout
  • physical tantrum
  • sense of foreboding for much of the film
  • unauthorized use of and access to private, personal information
  • occasional signals typical of the suicidal
  • invasive investigation, repeatedly
  • assault
  • tale of physically brutal treatment of a woman
  • motor vehicle collision (MVC), graphic with victims in horror
  • graphic fall on face due to heart failure to support body's needs
  • flashbacks of graphic MVC with lite gore added
  • impersonating a Federal officer
  • repeat of planning suicide from opening of film
  • repeat of graphic MVC
  • dead body (from MVC)

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 34 out of 100
  • 12 uses of profanity
  • coaching to act with aggression and anger
  • name-calling (non profane but quite hateful)
  • invasion of privacy
  • lies, repeatedly and throughout
  • intentional bizarre behavior suggesting lunacy
  • yelling tantrum

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 66 out of 100
  • invasive "teasing" questions about sex life
  • a motel renting "by the hour"
  • conversation surrounding intercourse
  • man and woman in bed caressing, twice
  • man in shower
  • man and woman making out
  • man and woman in bed stroking each other a co-stripping each other with obscure nudity
  • long sequence of man and woman in bed nude stroking each other obviously in intercourse aftermath
  • additional man and woman in bed
  • woman in bathtub

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 97 out of 100
  • character with a drink

    Offense to God (O) - 77 out of 100
  • two uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and two without

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 91 out of 100
  • graphic suicide

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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