I hate it when trailers tell you everything about a movie except the final beat, so you’d think I’d be receptive to the plot vagueness in this recently posted trailer for Seven Pounds, the Will Smith movie coming out on 12.19. But it bothered me. “What’s going on here?” I was saying to myself. I got the part about Smith being shattered by something he did and wanting to help others in a kind of Pay It Forward vein, but what’s the shot?

You have to search around on the Seven Pounds IMDB page — among the reader comments, I mean — to understand what’s really going on. Which I did. So now I know.
The first assumption you might have is that the title refers to a birth weight. Nope. It alludes to the term “pound of flesh” from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice (i.e., Shylock’s demand that Antonio literally surrender a pound of his own flesh if he fails to pay a monetary date by a certain date). Thematically it refers to seeking atonement for a terrible deed, and specifically it refers to Smiths’ character looking to do good things for seven deserving people, and falling for one of them, a lady with a heart condition played by Rosario Dawson.
For some reason I was reminded of a line spoken to Malcolm McDowell‘s Alex in a prison scene from A Clockwork Orange. He’s talking about morality to the rotund minister/priest, and says at one point, “I don’t know about the whys and wherefores, father — I only know I want to be good.”
The director is Gabrielle Muccino, who directed Smith in last year’s Pursuit of Happyness. The script is by Grant Nieporte.