Unoriginal Screenplay

My wife and I went to see Seven Pounds a couple of weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it and plan to, stop reading now and go see it. No, seriously stop reading now. You need to go into this movie blind. (Frankly, you should never watch another trailer again as long as you live if you really want to enjoy movies, but this particular movie even more so.)

If you haven’t seen it and don’t plan to, stop reading now and go see it anyway. Forget the critics, IMDB and I never lie.

Most of the bad reviews the movie has received is due to it’s being viewed as a Sixth Sense kind of movie, with a big “tell” at the end, except it isn’t that big and so a few people with high expectations give it grief. The problem is that isn’t a Sixth Sense kind of movie and it’s not trying to be. In fact, the first scene tells you exactly what’s going to happen, if you’re paying attention, and from there it’s not hard to figure out a large part of what occurs going forward.
It’s the way the story and the relationships unfold that get you.
A short outline:
  • Prologue: Guy tells person he’s talking to what’s about to happen
  • Guy decides he wants to “drastically change” some people’s circumstances, for the better
  • Guy looks for good people whose circumstances he can “drastically change”
  • Guy weeds out not-good people
  • Guy develops relationship with good people he’s picked
  • Guy decides their life is more important than his own
  • Guy makes ultimate sacrifice for one he’s fallen in love with
  • Two people whose circumstances were “drastically changed” come together
The reason the story grabs you is that it’s one we’ve heard before. And the original is a doozie. You just have to substitute “God” for “Guy” in the above outline.
  • Prologue: God tells us what’s about to happen (Genesis 12:1–3, Isaiah 7:14, etc.)
  • God decides He wants to “drastically change” some people’s circumstances, for the better (Isaiah 9:6, John 10:10, etc.)
  • God develops relationship with people he’s picked (Genesis 12-50, Matthew-John)
  • Jesus makes ultimate sacrifice for the ones He loves
  • People whose lives were “drastically changed” come together, as the church
Now that’s a story. For all the similarities, notice the big (HUGE) difference. God didn’t choose good people. God didn’t weed out the not-good people. “While we were yet sinners, He died for us.” (Romans 5:8) “For God so loved the world…”
If Emily and Ezra had rejected Ben’s gift, it would have a tragic waste of a life, and not much of a story.
Let’s make sure the original version of the story ends well.

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