The newest movie by Will Smith, 7 Pounds, not unlike I Am Legend, deals substantively with the human dilemma. Specifically, Smith portrays a man who has unexpectedly come face with face with the frailty of the human condition. Death comes suddenly, and he is unprepared for its arrival.
As a result, Smith (not his name in the movie, of course), devises a scheme whereby death might somehow be defeated. In the unraveling of his plan, Smith becomes something of a Christ figure, using death to extend life. Without giving too much of the movie away, I want to offer four key observations from the movie.
First, Smith clearly becomes a Christ-like figure. In the movie, Smith plays a character who is willing to sacrifice for the well-being of others. Indeed, the sacrifice motif plays itself out throughout the movie as an integral part of the substance of his character. The movie intends for Smith’s character to be one who sacrifices. Ultimately, the Christian will see sacrifice in its quintessential display through Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for many.
Second, and again like Christ, Smith acts on behalf of a certain group of individuals who most assuredly will be helped by him. Beyond mere sacrifice, Smith—in acting this way—demonstrates great love. He is willing to lose so that others gain—but not everyone gains. The objects of his affections are particular.
Third, and in this instance not like Christ, Smith plays a figure whose righteousness is self-imposed. Never in the movie is there a hint that righteousness is alien to the main character. Smith plays a character who—though he has been devastated by unexpected death—is still perfectly capable of determining the righteousness of others and making determinations about their worthiness to receive (or not to receive) the blessing he will offer. One may leave this movie with the mistaken view that righteousness consists of not getting angry or being overly selfish. Giving and being considerate of others is apparently righteousness enough. (There is one thing that is absolutely forbidden, but I will not mention it here because it isn’t revealed until the end of the movie). The main point to make on righteousness is that it appears to reside in the character himself. Thus, there are judgments made against others, but the title character himself is not judged, even though he might be guilty of fornication, forgery, impersonation, theft, espionage, and, potentially, self-murder.
Finally, and again unlike Christ, Smith plays a character who is willing to sacrifice only on the condition of perceived righteousness. In this way, I believe, Smith’s character is the most unlike Christ. Though I found the movie to be a well-acted, very worthwhile production, I could not help at the end of it to quote Romans 5: Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Though I appreciated the thoughtful plot of 7 Pounds, I left the movie thanking God for the gospel of Jesus Christ.