Will Smith shines in The Pursuit of Happyness, a rags-to-riches tale about love, family, and pursuing the American Dream.
Smith portrays Christopher Gardner, a salesman struggling to make ends meet for his wife (Thandie Newton) and son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith). As the family’s financial problems mount, his wife caves under the pressure and abandons him and their son.
Gardner’s luck goes from bad to worse as he and his son are evicted from their home and must survive on the streets of San Francisco. The father and son are forced to move from place to place seeking shelter wherever they can find it, even spending one night in a subway bathroom.
Things start looking up for Gardner when he applies for an internship with a stock brokerage firm. Though the internship is unpaid, one of the 20 interns will be chosen to stay with the company full-time. The ambitious salesman battles insurmountable odds to make himself stand out from his competitors in the hopes of landing the position.
Smith and his real-life son Jaden bring an emotional depth to the characters they play. The somber role of Gardner is quite a change for Smith, who is known for his less serious roles battling aliens in the Men in Black movies and portraying a matchmaking “date doctor” in the romantic comedy Hitch.
He tackles the role with a determined precision and turns out a spectacular performance, which is already generating talk of an Oscar. Though most scenes in the film have a very solemn feel, Smith’s cautious optimism and ambitious nature make us want to root for him to succeed. In a role that could have easily been played syrupy-sweet, Smith instead chooses to let his raw emotions shine through adding a layer of realism.
His son, Jaden, proves to be a natural as well. Portraying a child whose life and economic background is so completely opposite from his own doesn’t seem to be a challenge for the young actor. He seems to have a true understanding of the character’s emotional state and expresses it with ease.
Newton also provides a noteworthy performance as Gardner’s wife who becomes so emotionally distressed she makes the difficult choice to abandon her child. While promoting the movie recently, Newton said she wanted audiences to identify with her character’s profound pain rather than flippantly writing her off as an uncaring shrew. Her depiction of the troubled woman walks a fine line between the two.
While the story is a moving tale about a father’s love for his son and working hard to achieve dreams, it is more than that. Pursuit of Happyness is also a poignant portrayal of the problem of homelessness in our society. Perhaps what makes the film so powerful is that it is based on a true story. The problems that Gardner faces are problems faced by many in our society every day.
Anyone who is familiar with Gardner’s story, which was featured on the ABC news program 20/20 in 2003, will not be surprised at the way the film ends. However, I found myself wanting to see more from the latter part of Gardner’s life. I guess that is why the film is titled The Pursuit of Happyness. Though we do learn what became of him, we never get to see much of the joy that comes from Gardner’s struggles.
For this reason, the movie is not a feel-good picture that will leave you with the warm fuzzies. Instead, it is a touching fictional portrayal of a problem that is all too real. Chances are that this is not a film that you will quickly forget.
Please look this over for me and tell me what you think. I would appreciate any changes in grammer or content.
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson mentions "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." What did Thomas Jefferson mean by "the pursuit of happiness?" Is happiness something that one can pursue? Fortunately, the movie "The Pursuit of Happyness," reveals the answers to these questions through a touching story of how far one man goes to provide for his family.
Recently I had the pleasure of viewing, "The Pursuit of Happiness," a film directed by Gabriele Muccino and written by Steve Conrad. The film has been available since December 15, 2006, so I was able to view it from the comforts of my own home. The movie has a PG-13 rating due to some mild language and violence, but I think it could have been borderline PG. The main character, Chris Gardner is played by actor Will Smith, who has also starred in many other blockbuster hits such as "Bad Boys," "Hancock," "Men in Black," "I am Legend," and "I-Robot". In addition, the movie casts Will Smith's son Jaden Smith, who plays the son that Chris vows to take care of. Inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, this movie drama depicts a man who relentlessly struggles to support his family. After losing his wife and home, Chris endlessly pursues happiness. Will Chris rise from destitution to riches?
The movie, just shy of two hours long, takes place in San-Fransisco during the year1981. Chris, a struggling sales man, tries to support his family, but is not having much success. He attempts to make things good, but they always end up worse. His wife finally cracks and leaves taking their son with her. Chris's son means more to him than anything in the world, which is why his wife decides to let their son stay with him. One day while walking down the street Chris runs into a guy getting out of a red Ferrari, in which he asked him what he does for a living. The man tells him that he is a stockbroker and works for Dean-Witten. From there on out, Chris pursues an internship as a stockbroker hoping to land a full time position. The only problem is that the internship has no salary, so he has to sell some of his medical scanners in order for his son and him to survive. Does Chris and his son make it after being evicted our of two apartments, having the IRS take almost all the money out of his account, and sleeping wherever they could? I cannot tell you, but one thing is for sure, this movie is definitely worth renting, so kick up your feet, set back in your recliner, and enjoy two hours of heartwarming emotion.
Will Smith was the producer of this movie, which did not surprise me since he has produced many of his own movies. The thing that I found interesting was the way he used his own son in the story. I think that this greatly added to the plot, because they were so natural together. There is one seen where Chris makes up an imaginary game with his son to hide the reality of sleeping in a subway bathroom. This particular part was an excellent example of the acting talents of Will Smith, because it truly made you fell sad.
Since the first time I watched Will Smith on the TV show "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," I instantly became a fan. His acting talents are superb, always resulting in a great film. I have watched all of Will Smith's movies and have never been disappointed. Will Smith is a great actor and in this movie, his acting turns a mediocre story into a masterpiece. The makeup crew also did a great job of quickly aging Will's character to portray the stress he was going through.
Although this movie lacks the fast paced action, special effects, and no stop comedy that will keep you laughing all night, it will definitely have you feeling happy, sad, and then happy again. In a rating scale of one to ten, I would give this movie an eight. If I was a big drama fan I would probably give the movie a ten, but it was not really my forte.