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  Publicity Stills of "The Pursuit of Happyness"
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Drama
Director: Gabriele Muccino
Cast: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 1 March 2007

Soundtrack: ACCESS "PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS" Soundtrack Review

Synopsis :

"Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. ...You got a dream, you gotta protect it... If you want something, go get it. Period."

In Columbia Pictures' "The Pursuit of Happyness," Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.

Movie Review:

In case you didn’t know that this film is inspired by the experience of a real person at the lowest point of his life, don’t read this review as it contain spoilers information about what eventually happened to Chris Gardner as discovering the unknown for the first time in the cinema is so much sweeter.

But if you already knew what happened to Chris Gardner and what he is doing now, you probably will be able to guess the end result even before the half way mark. Does that make the journey less memorable or less enjoyable? Well the joy of traveling is not the destination but the journey itself and going through the life journey that Chris Gardner did was equally sweet and touching.

Here you have a man whose latest business venture is not working out so well. Potential clients do not find his products as necessary and Chris Gardner had to lug those seemly portable products around town to sell them. Money running out and he is stuck with all these products that he couldn’t sell fast enough. Adding more woes, the mother of his child got fed up with the financial problem and unfulfilled promises, left to find a better life on her own. As Chris had an unhappy childhood, he made a promise that his child will always know and feel fatherly love; he persisted and kept his son, Christopher with him amidst the entire money problem stage of his life.

One day, while lugging his portable machine, he encountered a life changing moment when a sporty car parked in front of him. Wanting to know how the driver afforded such fancy lifestyle, he came across the true calling of his vocation and that started his passage in stock brokerage.
Wanting to provide a better life for Christopher, the pursuit of happyness begun for Chris but like the synopsis and the making of almost all autobiographies, it will never be an easy journey. In fact, it will always be a difficult journey that makes a good story. Considering only one out of the twenty interns gets the job after the internship which by itself is already a tough period to go thru, Chris got to worry constant problem of finding a shelter for the night and picking his son up after school.

When the stock brokers finally announced the selected interns, it’s one big teary moment even when it’s pretty obvious who will be getting the job. For pushing the emotions that high in a rather formulaic tale, it had to be accredited to Will Smith’s performance. Initially the real Chris Gardner had doubts on bringing in Will Smith to play him but his daughter reminded him that if Will Smith can bring the house down as Mohammad Ali in Ali, he is definitely capable in bringing his life onto screen.

Personally, I can’t agree more with Chris’s daughter. Even though there are some differences in look, Will Smith brought forth a sense of believability in Ali and now he is bringing the same believability in his role as Chris Gardner. Sure, most people feels that Forest Whitaker will win and should win Best Actor for his monstrous and charming portray for Idi Amin in Last King of Scotland, personally Will Smith charmed and moved me more with his performance as Chris Gardner.

Another good move that this film made was casting Will Smith’s real son Jaden Smith as Christopher. The chemistry was definitely there and it helps to build the sense of urgency for Chris Gardner to get off the streets as quickly as possible. If there any new comer award, young Jaden Smith deserve at least a nomination and it does seems that talent do run in the Smith family.

If you ever wonder why the film title is spelt Happyness, it will be explained in the movie. (Dear Friends, please stop bugging me, I know Happiness is spelt with an I and not a Y but there's a reason to wrong spelling).

And if you wonder how the real Chris Gardner looks like? Pay close attention near the end (it’s pretty obvious when the film will be ending) and when Will Smith and Jaden Smith walks down the famous San Francisco hills, Chris Gardner will be doing a cameo by walking pass them. It’s quite hard to miss because it’s a rather empty street and to have a guy walking pass the screen out of the blue; you probably will sit up and wonder why did the director let a guy just walk pass the screen.

Movie Rating:

(Inspiring! If this man can find success with so much trouble in life, why can’t you?)

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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