Pay It Forward

Synopsis: Young Trevor McKinney, troubled by his mother's alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an intriguing assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor conjures the notion of paying a favor not back, but forward--repaying good deeds not with payback, but with new good deeds done to three new people. Trevor's efforts to make good on his idea bring a revolution not only in the lives of himself, his mother and his physically and emotionally scarred teacher, but in those of an ever-widening circle of people completely unknown to him.
Genre: Drama
Director(s): Mimi Leder
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
  1 win & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

10-86, possible 4- 17. Baker, Henry.

3000 block of Bagley, 4- 1 7, 10-30.

Get back!

-I'll shoot her!

-Oh, my God!

3-L-90. I repeat:

3-L-90, request you notify hostage

negotiation team.

Have them respond to my Location.

-See anything?

-Get those cars out of here!

Suspect is a male Caucasian,


I' m a reporter.

How Long have you been here?

Domestic or drugs?

Is that his girlfriend?

-Get out of here.

-Who is it?

-Talk to me.

-Get him out of here.

-Go on!

-I got my passes.


-I have every right to be here.

Where'd he go?

Suspect has withdrawn into

the interior of the room.

We no Longer have visual contact.

That was my car.


Having a Little car trouble?

That's a keen observation.

I can help you.

It's the Jag.

You want me to drive home in your car?

I want you to take my car.

I've had a lot of Luck Lately.

I don't need it.

You're giving me a new Jaguar

and you don't want anything?

I can prove it. Give me your card.

I'll be in touch.

What, you want me to kill your

wife or something?


Tempting, but, no.

Call it generosity between

two strangers.

Generosity? It's a Jaguar.

You expect me to drive home

in a new Jaguar?

-That's right.

-You' re a freak!

You are a freak.

You want me to get in this car? No way!

It'll probably blow up.

That's real funny, bits and pieces of me

raining down in the street!

You think I'm going near that thing,

you're nuts!

Besides, I got a car.

Sort of.

What? You Like it?

Cool blade, huh?

-You want to see it?

-Keep it in your pants.


-He's gonna kill you.

-I've got pepper spray.

Apparently, none of you have ever

seen a new teacher before.

I' m Mr. Simonet.

Welcome to the seventh grade.

Middle school, that hellish, shaky

bridge you all must cross...

...before you become members of that

undyingly enviable high school elite.

You may think you can't cross

this bridge fast enough.

You'd rather close your eyes and not

think about it until it's all over.

Well, I'm here to tell you...

...that is not an option

in this class.



To be late for your first class

on your first day of school.

What does that indicate?

I'm having a bad hair day?

Perhaps what it indicates is

a Lack of respect.

You see, I'm going to be here

every day for you.

And so I expect you to be here for me.

On time, no excuses.

Put that down.



...this class is social studies.

That is you and the world. Yes.

There is a world out there and even if

you don't want to meet it...'s still going to hit you

right in the face.

Believe me.

Best start thinking about the world

now and what it means to you.

What does the world mean to you?

Come on! A Little class


Is it just this class you

want to get out of?

Your house, your street?

Any further any of you want to go

than that? Yes?

The mall. That's only two miles

away from me.

Let me ask you another question.

How often do you think about things

that happen outside of this town?

Do you watch the news? Yes? No?

All right, so we're not global thinkers

yet, but why aren't we?

Because we're 11.

Good point. What's your name?


Maybe Trevor's right. Why should

we think about the world?

After all, what does the world

expect of us?


Of you.

What does the world expect of you?



My God, boys and girls, he's right.


Here you are. You can't drive.

You can't vote.

You can't go to the bathroom

without a pass. You' re stuck...

... right here in the seventh grade.

But not forever...

... because one day you'll be free.

But what if on that day you' re free... haven't prepared,

you' re not ready...

...and yet you Look around you

and you don't Like what the world is.

What if the world... just a big disappointment?

We' re screwed.


Unless you take the things that you

don't Like about this world...

...and you flip them upside down right

on their ass.

Don't tell your parents I

used that word.

And you can start that...

This is your assignment.

Extra credit.

It goes on all year Long.

Wait a minute.

What's wrong with this?

What's the matter? Yes?

It's, Like, so....

There must be a word to finish

that sentence.

-Someone help her.


Weird. Crazy.





How about possible?

It's possible.

The realm of possibility...

...exists where? In each of you.


So you can do it.

You can surprise us. It's up to you.

Or you can just sit back

and let it atrophy.


If there is a word you hear that you

don't understand, there's a dictionary.

Look it up.

And there are these dictionaries which

you will carry at all times...

... because in this class, we' re going

to Learn to Love words...

...and their meanings.

Any questions?


So, you'll Like, flunk us if we

don't change the world?

No, I wouldn't do that.

But you might just squeak by

with a "C".

What'd you ever do to change

the world?

Well, Trevor, I get a good

night's sleep.

I eat a hearty breakfast.

I show up on time...

...and then I pass the buck to you.

Now, I want you all to write your names

in these books and--

What's your name?

Molly, all right. I want Molly to

Look up the word atrophy...

...and tell the class what it means.

No, we' re not in Milwaukee.

Straight to hell. Straight to hell.

Rate this script:4.0 / 1 vote

Leslie Dixon

Leslie Dixon is an American screenwriter and film producer. She began her career as an original screenwriter, writing films such as 1987's Outrageous Fortune and Overboard. She then moved into adaptations and re-writes, developing the screenplays for: Mrs. Doubtfire, The Thomas Crown Affair, Pay It Forward, and Hairspray. She has also produced a variety of films, and the television series Limitless. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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