MOVIE SHELF

PAY IT FORWARD

Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film directed by Mimi Leder. The film is based loosely on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is set in Las Vegas, and it chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney’s launch of a goodwill movement known as “pay it forward”.

Trevor begins 7th grade in Las Vegas. His social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet, assigns the class to put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s calls his plan “pay it forward”, which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying it back.

Trevor implements the plan himself, forming a branch of good deeds. His first deed is to let a homeless man named Jerry live in his garage, and Jerry pays the favor forward by doing car repairs for Trevor’s mother Arlene.

Trevor’s school assignment marks the beginning of the story’s chronology, but the opening scene in the film shows one of the later favors in the “pay it forward” tree, in which a man gives a car to Los Angeles journalist Chris Chandler. As the film proceeds, Chris traces the chain of favors back to its origin as Trevor’s school project. After her date with Eugene, Arlene paid Jerry’s favor forward by forgiving her own mother, Grace, for her mistakes in raising Arlene, and Grace, who is homeless, helps a gang member escape from the police. The gang member then saves an asthmatic girl’s life in a hospital, and the girl’s father gives Chris his new car.

Published by Positive Living

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