New York Times - 10/20/2000
"...[Ms. Hunt's] performance is vunerable, direct and without vanity..."
USA Today - 10/20/2000
"...Haley Joel Osment proves that his intuitive Oscar-nominated effort in THE SIXTH SENSE was no fluke..."
Total Film - 02/01/2001
"...Osment easily holds his own, supplying some praiseworthy interplay with both Spacey and Hunt..."
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2001
"...Moving....Touches of the unexpected....[Hunt] builds on the streetsmart/vulnerable persona she established in AS GOOD AS IT GETS..."
Based on a best-selling novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde and boasting the star power of two Oscar winners and a young nominee--Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, and Haley Joel Osment--PAY IT FORWARD spins a heartwarming yarn about an 11-year-old boy who comes up with an utopian idea as a project for school. History teacher Eugene Simenot (Spacey) offers the same ongoing extra-credit assignment he has proffered every year: Come up with an idea that will change the world. However, he expects nothing more from his students than halfhearted efforts that fall far shy of their mark. Simenot is therefore unprepared for precocious, irrepressible Trevor McKinney (played with wide-eyed wonder by Osment), who conjures up a stunning scheme. Trevor suggests the concept that every person who benefits from someone else's good deed should "pay it forward," instead of paying it back, and in turn offer favors to three other people. The first guinea pig for Trevor's experiment is his overworked, imperfect mom (Helen Hunt) for whom he tries to find a boyfriend.
Director Mimi Leder, best known for such powerful thrillers as DEEP IMPACT, imbues the solid script of PAY IT FORWARD with a more grandiose aura. However, it is the movie's triumvirate of heralded stars--Spacey, Hunt, and Osment--that propels this compelling yarn.