RELIGION – Ms. SM “PAY IT FORWARD”
This film addresses forgiveness head on. The alcoholic mother, Arlene (Helen
Hunt), struggles with the alcoholism and abuse in her own past, holding her
mother responsible for all that happened. Her grudge against her mother kept
their relationship at a distance.
Arlene comes to a point in the movie where she is compelled to follow her son's
example and help someone in a way they can't help themselves. She realizes that
the help that her mother needs is forgiveness for the past. Arlene seeks her
mother out and basically tells her, "You know all the drinking, all the men, all the
stuff that happened to me that shouldn't have . . . I FORGIVE YOU!" A powerful
Viewing Questions – Some of these questions will be answered in the credits… so watch
carefully! Not all the questions are in order…
1. Who played Trevor McKinney?
Haley Joel Osment
2. What year was 'Pay It Forward' released?
3. What grade is Trevor in?
He doesn't go to school
4. How old was Eugene Simonet when he was burned?
5. Who burned him?
A drunk driver
6. Catherine Ryan Hyde wrote the novel, but who wrote the screenplay? ***Bonus Question* Watch credits carefully.
Mary Higgins Clark
7. What was the name of rock star Jon Bon Jovi's character?
8. What was the woman on the bridge going to do?
fooling around – pretending to jump
ready to jump – end her life
trying to feed the ducks
have her coffee
9. Who directed the movie?
10. What was the first name of the drug addict?
11. What acting pair played Eugene Simonet and Arlene McKinney?
Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt
Val Kilmer and Helen Hunt
Kevin Spacey and Julia Roberts
Jim Belushi and Helen Hunt
12. Which state does this movie take place in?
13. What is the name of the building where Kevin Spacey's character lives?
Answer: (Two Words Starts With 'The')
14. How many years did Arlene say she and Trevor's father had been together?
15. What is the name of the homeless guy that Trevor helps?
16. What kind of cereal were Trevor and his friend eating?
Peanut Butter Capt'N Crunch
17. When people are late, what does Eugene think that means?
They don't respect him
They don't like him
They don't care about him
They are irresponsible
18. What happened to Eugene?
He was in a bad car accident
His father set him on fire
His house caught on fire
19. Who played Trevor's father?
Jon Bon Jovi
20. What does 'Pay It Forward' mean?
Three big favors for three other people
They never say
Paying someone back
I have no idea
21. How old does Trevor turn in this movie?
22. When Trevor, Eugene and Arlene are watching wrestling, which two wrestlers are wrestling?
Rey Mysterio Jr and Billy Kidman
Kevin Nash and Shane Helms
Buff Bagwell and Vampiro
Billy Kidman and Vampiro
23. On a few occasions, why does Arlene get upset with Eugene?
He keeps using big words she can't understand
He says mean things about Trevor
He disrespects her
He makes fun of her lack of education
24. Do Eugene and Arlene end up together?
Answer: (Yes or No)
25. What class does Trevor have with Eugene Simonet?
26. Which friend does Trevor always try to save?
27. What was the name of the homeless man Trevor helped ?
28. Who took Chris (the reporter) to Trevor's birthday party?
29. Why doesn't Trevor's mom want Chris at the party?
He is Trevor's father
She doesn't like reporters
She doesn't want to fall in love with him
She thinks Pay it Forward failed
30. What was the last thing Eugene saw when he was being set on fire?
His mom laughing
Trevor paying it forward
His mom and dad eating dinner
His father laughing
31. What happens to one of the male characters?
He was shot
He had cancer
He was pushed off of a house
He was stabbed
32. What was shown at the end of the movie?
A candlelight vigil
His murderer's trial
33. Who wrote the book that the movie was based on?
K. A. Applegate
Catherine Ryan Hyde
J. K. Rowling
Rose Ann Gallaudet
Post – Viewing Short Answer Questions
1. What's the real conflict in this movie?
2. Why do you suppose the writer chose “that” particular ending to the movie? What would be the point?
3. How does Jerry help bring closure to the story?
4. How could you help the "pay it forward" concept move from fiction to reality?
5. Would the story have been as powerful without the “monkey wrench” of Trevor's father?
6. What is the theme of the story?
7. Compare one of Trevor's lines with the theme: "I guess it's hard for people who are so used to things the way
they are, even if they're bad, to change."
8. Why is the character of Jerry a key to the movie?
Post Viewing Discussion Questions:
1. Arlene cut off relations with her mom because she was so mad for all the bad things, all the
"unforgivable" things that had happened in her past. Is there such a thing as an unforgivable
Are there people that we know or were once close to us who are hard to forgive?
2. Arlene realized that she alone had the power to finally forgive her mom. If we alone have the
power to forgive someone who has hurt us, why don't we do it?
3.Have you ever done something to someone that made it hard for them to forgive you? Did you
want their forgiveness, even if you didn't deserve it?
Read John 8:1-11. This woman was caught in the act. Yet Jesus forgave her saying, "Then I don't
condemn you." Think of something that you have done wrong in the past--a time when you really messed
up bad, a time when you had trouble forgiving yourself. How would that make you feel to know that Jesus
Read Matthew 18:21-35. Jesus told this story to let us know how serious he is about forgiveness. We
aren't worthy of forgiveness, yet he gives it to us. We need to follow his example and extend it to others.
How does this passage from Matthew connect to the movie?
Kevin Spacey as Eugene Simonet
Helen Hunt as Arlene McKinney
Haley Joel Osment as Trevor McKinney
Jay Mohr as Chris Chandler
James Caviezel as Jerry
Angie Dickinson as Grace
Jon Bon Jovi as Ricky McKinney