Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama-romance film based on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde . The film is set in Las Vegas in the present day, and the chronicles 11-year-old Trevor McKinney's launch of a goodwill movement known as 'pay it forward'. Directed by Mimi Leder and written by Leslie Dixon, the film stars Haley Joel Osment as Trevor, Helen Hunt as his alcoholic single mother Arlene McKinney, and Kevin Spacey as his physically and emotionally scarred social studies teacher Eugene Simonet.
The film was released on October 20, 2000 to mixed reviews, with most critics praising the acting, writing, music and cinematography but criticizing the story and the overuse of emotional manipulation (particularly in the film's ending). The film was a moderate box office success, earning just over $55.7 million on a $40 million budget.