While many films the primary goal is to entertain, others attempt to inspire a change in the minds and actions of the audience. These movies motivate people to change behaviors by demonstrating an alternative way of living. They often accomplish this by drawing new connections between the memories and experiences of the audience with the images and characters on the screen. An example of this type of movie is the film Seven Pounds. The film deals with concept of paying penance for one’s actions. The title comes from the Shakespeare play The Merchant Of Venice in which the concept of using “seven pounds of flesh” as the ultimate payment of a debt is given(Wikipedia). The main character’s careless actions lead to a substantial loss of life that he feels he must atone for. Although this character’s actions can be classified as extreme, he literally gives everything he has in an attempt to make amends for the lives he has taken. The movie calls for individuals to take responsibility for their actions instead of placing blame elsewhere. Ideally, audience members will leave the theaters believing that they should take greater effort to give back and make up for the wrong they have done to others. The film Seven Pounds attempts to accomplish this by demonstrating how the memory of seven seconds can motivate a man to seven extreme acts of contrition. The power of memory is illustrated through the film’s appeal to the audience, attempts to gain credibility, and contrasting images of past and present to motivate actions and change.
In analyzing this film, it is important to consider the intended audience. Most movies try to appeal to the largest audience possible in order to meet their bottom line and Seven Pounds is no exception. The filmmakers chose Will Smith, a seasoned, celebrated actor with universal appeal as the leading man. The film was also set in present-day Los Angeles, California, adding to the universal appeal of the movie. It is easier for people to relate and make connections to an environment and circumstances they have actual memories of interacting with.
The same methods used in this film to attract the audience can also be seen as speaking to the film’s credibility. Seven Pounds is not a comedy, science fiction, or an action film. Its credibility lies in the fact that everything that happens in the film is plausible, albeit, uncommon. The film uses the memories of the audience and the constructed memories of the main character in the film to reinforce the plausibility of the film. The catalyst behind the actual accident that motivates the main character was the use of his cell phone while he is driving. Most audience members will be able to drawn upon their memories of using or not using a cell phone while driving as reference. Although not the primary focus of the film, the possibility of an accident is presented as a consequence of such actions.
The other actors used are also seasoned professionals and...