“Pay It Forward” is the story of a boy’s extra credit assignment to make the world a better place and the people who are touched by it. It sounds cheesy but the dramatic execution of this simple concept is enjoyable (a little farfetched, but enjoyable). It doesn’t hurt that it employs the dynamic cast of Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment, and Jim Caviezel. It also doesn’t hurt that it has a whimsical score by Thomas Newman and generates a great deal of emotion with its ending. It touches on real-world themes like alcoholism, divorce, domestic abuse, and bullying so that all audience members can relate in one way or another. Spacey is as good as ever with this role that allows him to play both an inspirational teacher and a fragile, abused man. Caviezel is the other actor that stands out as really delivering his emotions. Osment again proves his ability to act as well as the adults and Hunt plays her vulnerable role well. It is a well-written story as the lives of these unrelated characters converge because of a single boy’s dream. “Pay It Forward” is pretty straightforward but there are a few surprises and emotional monologues that set this one apart from Lifetime original movies.
[Pictured: If nothing else, you will walk away from this film wanting to pay it forward to three people]