Pay It Forward - We Can Change the World

Topics: Pay It Forward, Haley Joel Osment, Kevin Spacey Pages: 6 (2228 words) Published: December 7, 2011
If someone did you a favor, something big, something that you could not do on your own, and instead of paying it back, you paid it forward to three people. Imagine the next day, they each paid it forward to three more people. And imagine the day after, those 27 people each paid it forward to another three people. Then each day afterwards, everyone in turn paid it forward to three more people; in two weeks that comes to 4,782,969 people.

This is the idea that gives the movie Pay It Forward such persuasive appeal. The specific persuasive purpose is to get people to think how such a simple idea can make a big difference. Another persuasive goal of the movie was to get people to not be afraid to help others, and tell those people to help other like they were helped. The idea must follow these three rules: First, It has to be something that really helps people. Second, It has to be something they can't do by themselves. Lastly, if I do it for them, they do it for three other people (Pay It Forward 2000).

The title of the movie is Pay It Forward; it was released into the theatre on October 20, 2000 nationwide. The director was Mimi Leder who did other films such as Peacemaker and Deep Impact. The screenwriter was Leslie Dixon, known for Overboard, That Old Feeling, Mrs. Doubtfire, Look Who's Talking Now; co writer of The Thomas Crown Affair and Smoke & Mirrors. The basis of this movie is from the best-selling novel Pay It Forward written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. The movie received mixed reviews from film critics the most common was the one written by, which said, “Pay It Forward has strong performances from Spacey, Hunt, and Osment, but the movie itself is too emotionally manipulative and the ending is bad.” This is not to say the movie is bad at being persuasive just because the movie is emotionally manipulative, and the fact that the ending is bad is purely opinionative. This shows the movie’s good use of pathos by using strong acting and a persuasive plot.

The plot of the movie is a school social studies assignment leads to acts of kindness that spread from city-to-city. When assigned to come up with some idea that will improve the world, a seventh grader boy Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) decides that if he can do three good deeds for someone and they in turn can "pay it forward" and so forth, then the world might be a better place. Initially the plan appears to fail, but it is indeed a success that is not immediately known by Trevor. The plan was traced back to it original source by a reporter (Jay Mohr) who received a brand new jaguar as a “pay it forward” gift when his car got totaled.

The initial people Trevor tries to help are a heroin addict (James Cavaziel) whom he brings home, lets him sleep in his garage, and gives him a little money to get his life together. The second is Mr. Simonet (Kevin Spacey) a badly scarred teacher who cannot accept a change of routine in his life. He then tries to help his poorly recovering alcoholic mother Arlene McKinney (Helen Hunt). Lastly, he tries to stand up for his schoolmate who gets beat up after school on a daily basis. Both Mr. Simonet and Trevor share the same problem abusive father’s who beat their spouses, so they have common outlooks on life. Trevor fears for his mom, particularly because of his brutal alcoholic father (Jon Bon Jovi) who tries to move back in their home. Arlene also has mental anguish from her childhood with a homeless, alcoholic mother (Angie Dickinson), who helped the reporter trace the good deeds back to Trevor.

In one of the beginning scenes, Gene Simonet (Kevin Spacey) is a seventh grade social studies teacher. He asks the class, “What does the world want from you?” Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) answers, “Nothing.” Mr. Simonet replies, “You are absolutely right, you are in seventh grade you can’t drive, can’t vote, heck you can’t even go to the bathroom without a pass from me, but not forever, one day...
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