a social studies teacher Eugene Simonet (KEVIN SPACEY)
Everything in social studies teacher Eugene Simonet’s life is in order — every shirt, every pencil, every person in its proper place. To keep the surface peaceful means never having to go deeper. And no one and nothing in his life has ever asked him to.
Arlene McKinney is a single mother hanging on by her fingertips, working two jobs, and struggling to raise her son, Trevor. She is trying to give him a new life, but in her absence she is losing him.
an eleven-year-old child Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment)
Trevor lives in a working class section of Las Vegas with his mother, Arlene. His father is gone; he has had to grow up too soon. He needs some hope in his life. And he gets it from Eugene.”
Young Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment), troubled by his mother’s alcoholism and fears of his abusive but absent father, is caught up by an interesting assignment from his new social studies teacher, Mr. Simonet. (Kevin Spacey)
The assignment: think of something to change the world and put it into action. Trevor makes a plan 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.