The Pursuit of Happyness, directed by Gabriele Muccino was about Chris Gardner (Will Smith) who is barely getting by as a salesman for bone-density scanners that most doctors find as unnecessary luxuries. He drags these scanners through the city of San Francisco, from hospital to hospital desperately trying to persuade doctors to purchase them so he can at least have enough money for his rent payments. While Chris was struggling to make ends meet, his wife Linda (Thandie Newton) decides to move to New York for a job opportunity but Chris makes sure his five-year-old son, Christopher (Jaden Smith) is staying right there with him. Although Chris was on the verge of becoming homeless, he decided to take a nonpaying internship with Dean Witter. He was amongst 20 other interns competing to earn a paid position as a stockbroker.
“The Pursuit of Happyness” was written on a mural outside on a wall of Christopher’s daycare. Chris was always concerned about their spelling with a “y” instead of an “I” and wanted to see it changed. This relates to his own life with his happiness. It may not be right at this point, but he is on a mission to change it for the better. He is on his own pursuit to find his happiness and will change whatever is necessary to make that happen, as long as he has his son with him.
Chris’ biggest concern wasn’t always what he does not have, but rather what does have, which is his son, the most important thing to him. He was always finding ways to better their lives and be able to provide for Christopher. Chris said to his son, “Don’t ever let someone tell you you can’t do something, not even me. You gotta dream, you gotta protect it. If you want something you gotta go and get it. Period.” This quote is a huge part of the film. As you can see, Chris lives by these words. He was never blaming others for his misfortunes or becoming pessimistic in any way. Rather than giving up like many people would do, he continued to fight and show his worth.
With Will Smith’s real-life son, Jaden Smith, playing his son in this movie(Christopher), it was even more touching. These two already have the father-son bond without having to “act” it out. This comes naturally for them, being that they act this same way outside of the lights and cameras. This gives the film more of a realistic feel to it, and the bond between the two of them is even more special and touching than it would be if two random actors were forced together as father and son. Chris and Christopher have a “ride-or-die” type of relationship. They have been together through the ultimate lows; being homeless, sleeping on the filthy ground in public restrooms, and waiting for hours outside of a homeless shelter praying to get in. They have also been together through the best times, including when Chris finds out he landed himself the paid stockbroker job. At the very beginning on the film, Chris says “I was 28 years old when I met my father for the first time. As a young kid I made up my mind that my children were going to know their father.” Not only did Christopher just “know” his father, he had an incredibly strong relationship with him. This relationship demonstrates the true importance of the bond between a parent and child, keeping each other going during the hardest times and also celebrating the little joys together.
This film is based off of the real Chris Gardner’s life. During the 1980s he struggled with homelessness while raising his son, as seen in this film. Now, he is an American businessman, investor, stockbroker, motivational speaker, author, and philanthropist. Starting from the complete bottom, living on the streets, sleeping in public restrooms, and relying on the slight hope of getting in line early enough, standing there for hours on end, to be able to stay in a homeless shelter for just one night. Will Smith was an outstanding fit for Chris’s character. He was so good at portraying his emotions, sometimes I felt as if I was caught inside the movie myself. He definitely taps into people’s emotions, especially his emotional acting when he receives the stockbroker position. This is clear why he was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.
There are always going to be setbacks in life, no matter how successful a person is. The thing that matters about that is if you are going to let it destroy you or if you are going to stand back up after being knocked down. Never giving up means having hope in the worst situations you ever thought were possible. Never giving up means pushing through and moving forward, believing that you will get through the hardship. It means you are willing to go through tough times in order to experience the good days ahead. It is not taking the easy way out of a situation by giving up.
Chris’s life was full of setbacks. From getting endless amounts of parking tickets, his wife leaving him and moving to a different state, losing the shelter over his head and becoming homeless, and having no money to provide for himself or his son; the setbacks just kept on rolling in. At this point, any average person would have given up by now and accepted the fact that nothing was ever going to work out the way they had planned. This was not an option for Chris. Chris was not afraid to fail 1,000 times if that meant only succeeding once. He was willing to keep on going, face rejections from doctors who did not want to buy his scanner, take a chance on an unpaid internship, even after spending the night in jail before his interview. If you never give up, there is hope and there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel. Homelessness to unbelievable success, that is what hard work, optimism, and never giving up is all about.
Life is not always sunshine and roses, in fact for some people, life is never sunshine and roses. Unfortunately, this was the case for Chris. Nothing ever seemed to be going right for him, it always just seemed like one bad thing after another. In situations like these, most people would just decide to give up. Giving up was not an option for Chris. Chris had persistence and determination, he was not going to let anything get in his way of pursuing his dream. In life, it is not about what happens to you, it is what you do about it. Chris knew what he wanted and he wasn’t going to stop until he got there. The aspect of this film that really stood out for me was when Chris was always seen running through the busy streets, whether it was to get a scanner back that someone stole from him, making it to an interview on time, to get to the homeless shelter on time, or even running away from the taxi driver because he couldn’t afford to pay him. The cinematography of these parts really stuck out and allowed me to feel the rush and intensity of the situation.
Personally, The Pursuit of Happyness was one of the most inspirational movies I have ever seen. It was almost like a reality check for me and I am assuming it was for a lot of other individuals as well. Sometimes life does not go as planned and you think you have it the worst, until you see stories like this one. The fact that it is based off of a true story makes it sink in even more for me. This movie has the ability to stick with you and linger around in the back of your head. On gloomy days when “everything” seems to be going wrong, this film will come back and “haunt” you, making you realize that you will be okay and you will be successful if you keep moving along. I find it incredible that a film has the capability to do that, and for that alone, it deserves a standing ovation. Like Ken Loach’s film Cathy Come Home, poverty and homelessness are a huge issue, however in this film Cathy ends up getting her kids taken away from her by social services. In The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris’s whole world is revolved around his son Christopher and he does anything to keep him safe and provide for him. This film shows the theme of never giving up more than Cathy Come Home because Chris is seen doing nothing less than finding ways to keep his son and him together successfully.
All of Chris’s hard work had finally paid off and he was shown the light he had been waiting to see after the dark tunnel he had been in for far too long. Chris says, “This part of my life, this little part is called happiness”.