Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Eugene Simonet (Spacey) is a social studies teacher who teaches his class that it is possible for one person to change the world. When one student (Osment) really listens and believes, the ripples begin to be felt by others in his life and the idea starts to spread across the nation.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 34
  2. Negative: 8 out of 34
  1. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    75
    The kind of film you've got to admire simply for the way it squares its shoulders and plunges into a message of unfashionable idealism.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    70
    An unusual film that intelligently avoids numerous potential pitfalls even if its central earnestness is ultimately inescapable.
  3. Works unexpectedly well for its first three quarters.
  4. 50
    Winds up making a very good case for never going out of your way to help anybody.
  5. 40
    Baldly manipulative, emotionally counterfeit melodrama.
  6. It's so enamored of its own upbeat view of human nature that it expects you to overlook its stick-figure characters, its creaky plot machinery and its remorseless assault on your tear ducts.
  7. 0
    An overflowing septic tank of chicken-soupy sanctimony that proceeds from casually offensive hypocrisy to wretchedly inapt religiosity.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 17
  2. Negative: 5 out of 17
  1. Aug 30, 2010
    10
    Sorry for the translation With the permission of the director, Mimi Leder, enter Class Trevor, as auditors of course. The lesson has alreadySorry for the translation With the permission of the director, Mimi Leder, enter Class Trevor, as auditors of course. The lesson has already begun.
    â
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  2. Dec 7, 2011
    10
    An incredible film which brings an original characteristic to the table, giving the audience a point of view that had not yet been recognized.An incredible film which brings an original characteristic to the table, giving the audience a point of view that had not yet been recognized. Though leaving you in tears at the end, it shows the importance of how much one step in society can make a difference and even though we think we don't make a difference with the choices we make and we may not ever know the impact of those choices, the effect of them can still make a huge impact. Expand
  3. Jan 23, 2014
    7
    unfortunately this movie is underrated for many reasons, it might look like that the concept of the movie is silly,
    but it's not, it's
    unfortunately this movie is underrated for many reasons, it might look like that the concept of the movie is silly,
    but it's not, it's actually beautiful but the execution wasn't that good.
    i mean there are roughly 4 characters in this movie, and all the scenes with Jay Mohr were stupid and unmemorable at all.
    and that buried the movie, but the performances was spectacular by Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and Haley Joel Osment
    also the plot was good and the ending was beautiful.
    i mean it's a simple beautiful story if you just think about it for a sec.
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  4. Jun 1, 2014
    4
    After seeing this movie, all I had to say was "Meh". This movie's biggest fault is its repetitive nature. The plot just loops over itselfAfter seeing this movie, all I had to say was "Meh". This movie's biggest fault is its repetitive nature. The plot just loops over itself constantly, and when lots of moments are sad, they can feel a bit unnecessary. For an example, the teacher, Eugene, will randomly get upset with the mother, Arlene, over and over again, but by the time a couple scenes have gone by, it's all okay again! Also, when Arlene slaps Trevor, at first it seems really well done (even though the kid can be really annoying) but then, they throw it all out the window by making them make-up in what seems to be less than three minutes. And do you know what happens next? They never mention it again! It's never brought up again once in the remaining running time of this movie! Maybe it's referenced, and I just missed it, but I didn't see any callbacks to it. The over-all plot can be nice, but I feel they repeat certain aspects that don't need to be repeated, and things that should be repeated, or even brought up again, simply don't see the light of day again. The acting is great for the most part, but those supposed "Grade Sevens" DON'T ACT OR LOOK ANYTHING LIKE GRADE SEVENS! They sound more like grade threes, and no, that's no exaggeration. The way the movie jumps forward and backward in time can also feel a bit messy. The music in this movie isn't necessarily bad, but it's overused...so...much! That piano piece, let me tell you just how annoying it got after hearing it about twenty times. A good element though is that the movie's jokes can be funny. Lastly, the ending is so sad, but so rushed. Trevor gets stabbed by some bullies that he'd run away from earlier in the movie. This death is so underwhelming! They should've made it something bigger, like if he'd sacrificed himself for his mother, or his teacher. The way it is just seems anti-climactic. I don't know, maybe I'm just wrong, but I really don't like it. I feel like the plot repeats, the grade sevens DO NOT look like grade sevens, the music gets annoying, and the characters aren't very memorable. In fact, when I was watching it for the first time, no one could remember the names: "Arlene", "Eugene", and "Trevor". Instead, they said: "the Teacher", "the Mother", and "the Kid". Keep in mind, this is just my opinion, but I think Pay it Forward should either have been changed, or not have been payed to go forward. Expand

See all 17 User Reviews

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