Director: Gabriele Muccino
Cast: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
RunTime: 2 hrs
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Day: 1 March 2007
"PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS" Soundtrack Review
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."
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.
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
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.
(Inspiring! If this man can find success with so much trouble
in life, why can’t you?)
by Richard Lim Jr