Top critical review
Serious medical, ethical, and theological shortfalls
Reviewed in the United States on March 15, 2020
The best thing I can say is the film is a good example why not to text while driving.
This film has serious medical, ethical, and theological shortfalls. This film is a mixed bag that includes beautiful scenes, great acting, and some surreal filming suggestive of 1960's art house films. I am a huge Will Smith fan and enthusiastically support his film Concussion.
While I suggest watching Seven Pounds for those reasons, I have many objections from medical, ethical, and theological standpoint.
As a medical person who has seen transplants performed, the medical presentation has flaws. In oversimplified terms, the recipient of the heart transplant in the film is shown simply lying sleepy on a OR table. In reality that person would be fully intubated and monitored. It is an extraordinarily highly complex undertaking.
Organ donor selection is very complex. I suspect that a person who had just been killed by a highly poisonous toxin from a jellyfish would be rejected for transplant. The basic premise in the movie therefore is flawed.
From an ethical and theological perspective "Ben" plays God and rejects forgiveness. As such, it is faux Christianity and could be considered profoundly not Christian. There is no evidence he has sought professional psychiatric help for his profound grief from the car accident he caused. Nor has he sought forgiveness. He is a lone wolf who lies and presents himself falsely. He is a godlike control freak. The parallel to Jesus' sacrifice is false as Jesus message was given to the good and the bad, not just the good. Suicide has a history of being considered a mortal sin, although it is much more nuanced today.
The pound of flesh references Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, act 4 scene 1, speech of Portia. In the same scene she has one of the most sublime speeches in Western literature regarding the quality of mercy.