The Pursuit of Happyness: Review

Directed by Gabriele Muccino, “The Pursuit of Happyness” is more than a movie, it’s a lesson on the indomitable spirit; an inspirational tale of one man’s trials and tribulations. Will Smith plays Chris Gardner in 1981, a real man with real problems who rose from the darkened ashes of despair with his then five year old son Christopher (played adorably by Jaden Christopher Syre Smith). Gardner suffered a copious amount of hardships and went from being an unpaid broker intern at Dean Witter to becoming a millionaire with his own brokerage company- Gardner Rich.

Many of us seek happiness yet during this lifetime, do not find it. The pursuit of it is our God-given right but it cannot be obtained without adversity and struggles of some kind. Smith delivers a heart-wrenching performance that can only help us relate to our own circumstances and ordeals. The message is simple and incidentally is told to us in segments entitled, “Running”, “Being Stupid”, “Internship”, etc.

Gardner narrates his tale and on the onset, discusses happiness through a misspelling in the word at the San Francisco daycare where he drops off his son. A struggle ensues when his wife, Linda (played by Than die Newton) places demands upon Gardner to sell bone density scanners to make his “bread & butter” and support his family. The waiting becomes too much for his wife when she tells him she’s off to New York and leaving him. Without much struggle as to who will care for young Christopher, Chris is determined to make it while caring for his son.

While struggling to keep his head above water, Gardner discovers an immaculately dressed businessman parking his red Ferrari at the meter and asks him two questions concerning what he does. Surrounding him were the smiling faces of corporate types exiting the workplace.
Gardner asked himself, how does one become that happy and why can’t he be that happy as well. The man he approached was a stock broker and revealed to him all he had to know was how to be good with people and numbers.

This chance meeting of fate catapulted Gardner toward his aspiration which would entail a significant amount of obstacles and ill-fated events. Between becoming homeless, sleeping at a local shelter, getting hit by a car when a derelict and a hippie couple steal his scanning machine, to sleeping in a BART station men’s room, Gardner’s resolve to achieve his dream is unwavering.

Through the course of the film, we watch Gardner grow from someone down on his luck to ultimate monetary victory with enough know how and wisdom to impart to his son, the “rules” to pursuing and capturing your dreams- “don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something” and “if you have a dream, go out and get it…period”.

Cool Factor: Gardner’s incredible skill with the then hot item- Rubik’s Cube as he tries to impress Jay Twistle, a Dean Witter employer in a taxi cab.

This is a must see, heart warming picture with enough struggles and setbacks to jerk at your emotional strings to make you weep, then make you revel in triumph.



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Tobe R. Roberts

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