Will Smith stars in this moving tale inspired by the true
story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman struggling
to build a future for himself and his 5-year-old son Christopher.
When his girlfriend Linda walks out, Chris is left to raise
Christopher on his own. Chris' determination finally pays
off when he lands an unpaid internship in a brutally competitive
stockbroker-training program, where only one in twenty interns
will make the cut. But without a salary, Chris and his son
are evicted from their apartment and are forced to sleep on
the streets, in homeless shelters and even behind the locked
doors of a metro station bathroom. With self-confidence and
the love and trust of his son, Chris Gardner rises above his
obstacles to become a Wall Street legend.
is Will Smith’s finest moment. No doubt about it.
plays Chris Gardner, a man who works hard but doesn’t
seem to possess a lot of luck. First, he hopes to make a fortune
by peddling high-density scanners to doctors and hospitals
but the plan backfired and he has a hard time clearing his
existing stocks which according to him, the cost of each scanner
equals a month of grocery bills. Then his wife frustrated
with all the financial problems left him and their only son.
He couldn’t pay for his apartment rental and they have
to lodge in a cheap motel. But the misfortunes don’t
just stop there, in fact it got so much worse than you ever
on a true story by Chris Gardner which tells of his own rags-to-riches
tale, this movie adaptation by Italian director Gabriele Muccino
is the perfect motivational material for all of us out there.
Without resorting too much dramatic gimmickry, the strength
of “The Pursuit of Happyness” for the most part
lies in the hands of real-life father-and-son, Smith and Jaden
is truly a born actor. Like father like son perhaps. He did
not act cutesy unlike maybe Home Alone’s Macaulay Culkin
but that doesn’t means he’s not. In fact, you
feel he’s just playing himself in the movie but with
realistic “plot-required” interaction with his
it’s the constraint of a real-life story, you see repetitive
scenes of the character Chris Gardner running, from one point
to another lugging the cumbersome scanner. However no matter
how bad the situation, you don’t see Gardner giving
it up. Muccino did a great job applying his expertise from
his filmmaking experience in his native country to a huge
Hollywood production. The whole movie feels it’s shot
on a smaller scale as compared to other major corporations
funded production. In a way I guess it’s the best way
to treat the source material. Sets are spruce up to look like
the 80’s and some nice touches of hand-held shots (not
the dizzy kind) are used for some scenes.
Chris Gardner finally got the job at Dean Witter in the end
(mind you this is not a spoiler as it’s a well-known
true story), the smile and that look on the face. It’s
priceless and uplifting.
will know why the fresh prince deserved the Oscar nomination.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
Director Commentary by Gabriele Muccino - Muccino
has a heavy Italian accent but he apologies for it. The track
is lively and Muccino reveals little fun facts about the making
of the movie. For example, since most of the street scenes
are shot “live” in San Francisco and not studios
or soundstages, extras have to be dressed in the 80’s,
streets/shops are dressed in the 80’s and stretch of
roads are blocked to allow filming. Muccino seem genuinely
surprised as he revealed that this would not be possible in
his native land.
Making Pursuit: An Italian Take on the American Dream
- Will Smith handpicked Director Gabriele Muccino for this
movie after watching 2 of his Italian films and this feature
detailed some of the interviews with the director and producers.
Father and Son: On Screen and Off - A feature
which touches on why Will Smith’s real-life son, Jaden
was selected for the role. Muccino mentioned he couldn’t
find one boy suitable for the role out of the hundreds who
came for the audition. That is until he proposed to the producer
to let Jaden read for the role. We can conclude Muccino made
the right choice.
The Man Behind The Movie: A Conversation with Chris
Gardner - A nice segment which shows the real Chris
Gardner and how he is involved in the production. Not really
a detailed feature but substantial to give viewers a quick
peek at the real-man.
Inside the Rubik's Cube - Chris Gardner managed
to solve a Rubik’s cube in the movie. This 6 minutes
feature offers an interesting peek at the real expert players
of the Rubik’s cube. Eye opening I should say.
"I Can" Musical Performance - Inspired
by the movie but not contained in the soundtrack, this is
a "audio" only track by Dave Koz and Bebe Winans.
Lastly, the trailers for "Ghost
Rider" and "Surf's Up" round up this Code
Presented in 2.40:1 aspect ratio, the transfer is as clear
as you can get. The interior night scenes consist of strong
levels of contrast and richness so you wouldn’t miss
a dialogue driven movie, the Dolby Digital 5.1 is well equipped
to bring out the audio. Except for some traffic and ambient
sound effects, you might even choose to switch off the surround
if you intend to watch this movie in the middle of the night
and cry your heart out.
Gardner’s tale is the perfect true story of the American
dream comes true. And Muccino and Smith did a marvelous job
recreating it on screen. I liked it even better upon second
viewing and you should at least give this a peek.
by Linus Tee