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Genre: Drama
Starring: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, Dan Castellaneta, Brian Howe
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2006




- Director Commentary by Gabriele Muccino
- Making Pursuit: An Italian Take on the American Dream
- Father and Son: On Screen and Off
- The Man Behind The Movie: A Conversation with Chris Gardner
- Inside the Rubik's Cube
- "I Can" Musical Performance



Languages: English/Spanish/Thai/
Subtitles: English/Spanish/Thai Korean/Portuguese/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 57 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Origin Entertainment




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.


This is Will Smith’s finest moment. No doubt about it.

Smith 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 imagined.

Based 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 Smith.

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 onscreen “dad”.

Perhaps 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.

And when 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.

You will know why the fresh prince deserved the Oscar nomination.


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 3 DVD.


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 father-and-son’s expressions.

For 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.


Chris 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.



Review by Linus Tee


. The Pursuit of Happyness (Movie Review)

. The Pursuit of Happyness (Soundtrack Review)

Other titles from Origin Entertainment:

. Ghost Rider (2-Discs Extended Cut)


This review is made possible with the kind support from Origin Entertainment


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