The protagonist of the film dials 911 to report his own suicide by a boxed jellyfish. He then narrates how God created the world in seven days, and how he managed to destroy his own in seven seconds. The introduction of the film establishes that the protagonist intends on helping seven people of his own choice. The reason at this point remains unknown. For most encounters, the protagonist poses as an IRS agent to establish a sense of initial trust.
At home, the protagonist now known as Ben Thomas (Will Smith) phones a meat delivery company to complain about his order and is put through to Ezra Turner (Woody Harrelson). During the phone call, Ezra is revealed to be a vegetarian as well as blind in both eyes, prompting Ben to viciously humiliate and taunt Ezra, as well as goading him into retaliating. Ezra however calmly thanks Ben for his call and disconnects.
Ben then travels to a hospital to meet Emily Posa (Rosario Dawson), who has a congenital heart condition which is complicated by her rare blood type, therefore limiting donor viability. Despite being turned away from the hospital staff, Ben watches Emily sleep later that evening but leaves as she wakes during the night.
Ben arrives at a care home for the elderly to meet with Stewart Goodman (Tim Kelleher), an administrator who brags that he was able to cut expenditure at the home by 17%, but also wishes that his own finances could be as equally impressive. Ben notices Stewart’s brand new BMW out front despite Stewart’s claim that he is insolvent. Despite this, Stewart pleads for a 6 month extension so that he can pay with his bonus in January, and Ben leaves with the matter unresolved. On his way out Ben talks to Inez, an elderly resident whom Stewart was attempting to talk to earlier but was unsuccessful in doing so.
Ben informs Inez that he has the capacity to drastically change Stewart’s circumstances, but needs to be sure that he deserves it and that if he is a “good man”. Inez tearfully confides with Ben that Stewart has barred the nurses from bathing her, after her request to be put on different medication is refused as the original makes her dizzy. Visibly appalled by this revelation, Ben transports Inez from her room to the bathrooms whilst Stewart attempts to perform damage control. Ben angrily demands Stewart show his patients better respect, and denies his request there and then for an extension.
Ben later meets with Holly (Judyann Elder), a child services employee to ask her the name of someone who is in dire need of help, but is too proud to ask. Holly directs Ben’s attention to Connie Tepos (Elpidia Carrillo), a Latin immigrant whose boyfriend beats her regularly, and almost killed her in the previous year. Connie is too scared of repercussions to press charges, leaving Holly powerless to help. Ben travels to Connie’s home still posing as an IRS agent, but upon revealing that he knows of her genuine situation Connie demands that he leave. Ben leaves his calling card just in case she changes her mind.
Several days later, a scared and desperate Connie calls Ben to accept his help. Ben arrives momentarily and realizes that her boyfriend has beaten her again. Ben gifts her the deed to his beach house, to provide her and her children a safe home.
George and Nicholas
George (Bill Smitrovich), is the coach of a junior hockey team who had also arranged partial scholarships for some of his players to attend College. George also has kidney failure, prompting Ben to donate his own kidney as a reward for George’s good nature. Nicholas (Quintin Kelly) is a younger patient at the same hospital as George. Ben decides to donate his bone marrow to Nicholas to help with his treatment.
Ben meets with Emily several times over at her home, he establishes a bond with her Great Dane ‘Duke’. Ben asks Emily why she would choose such a large animal, to which Emily responds that the average life span of a Great Dane is seven years, and that they commonly suffer from heart problems. Emily considers that she chose to take care of something else as opposed to always being taken care of. During the pair’s final meeting where Emily cooks Ben dinner, the two finally share a passionate kiss after having long established feelings for each other.
During the evening, the “real” Ben Thomas (Michael Ealy) shows up outside, and demands that “Tim”, his brother who has been posing as “Ben” return his IRS credentials. Tim attempts to leave, but ends up spending the night with Emily. The two play a game of “What If?” With Emily wondering if whether her pager will go off—signalling that a donor has been found for her. Tim wonders if they would both eventually get married and have children together. Emily eventually falls asleep. Tim leaves and heads to the hospital where Emily is being treated to ask her doctor the chances of finding a suitable donor. When the doctor reveals these chances to be almost impossible, Tim decides to call Dan Morris (Barry Pepper), his friend to announce that “it’s time”.
Returning to his motel room, Tim makes two final phone calls. The first goes to Ezra, the blind vegetarian that Tim verbally abused over the phone. Tim profusely apologizes for his actions, but explains to Ezra that he had to ensure he was a decent person by attempting to get the better of him. Tim then calls 9-1-1 as introduced in the film, before filling a bathtub with ice water. As he is entering the bathtub, Tim looks back on the night that changed him forever. Driving a Chevrolet Corvette with his fiancée as passenger, Tim carelessly texts whilst driving, and very nearly collides with an oncoming car. Swerving violently, Tim collides with a Ford E-Series van, causing both cars to roll violently and kill the six occupants of the van as well as Tim’s fiancée. Back in the present, Tim tips a bucket into the water containing a box jellyfish. Its tentacles wrap around Tim’s arm and deliver a sting which causes a quick but excruciatingly painful death.
Having committed suicide in ice water, Tim has cautiously preserved his vital organs—his heart in particular which is donated to Emily.
Holly Apelgren and Ben Thomas
The real Ben meets with Emily, and tells her that a year following the accident he was diagnosed with lung cancer, and required a double-lobe transplant which Tim came to his aid for. Six months later, Tim then gave part of his liver to Holly, the child services employee seen earlier in the film.
Emily attends a church session where Ezra is playing piano to a children’s choir. As the performance ends, it is shown that Ezra is now able to see as he congratulates the choir on their singing. Emily makes contact with Ezra, but is so overwhelmed by seeing Tim’s eyes in Ezra that she begins to break down into tears. Ezra, seeing her scar from heart surgery, realizes she is Emily, and the two share an emotional hug.