Movie Review: Pursuit of Happyness

December 23, 2006
Viva La Vi

The plot of this movie has been made and remade, and people like me must start to take the term 'based on a true story' very lightly. I will confess that I knew nothing of Chris Gardner until I came home from the theatre and researched him and his book online, which was when I realized that the story had been extremely sensationalized. Still, this did not necessarily change the perception of the film for me because I was not expecting it to be accurate.

I will acknowledge that I am biased because I am a fan of Will Smith. I think that he is sharp, smart (having been accepted into MIT), and also witty. Consequently, I am not sure how much I actually liked the movie itself instead of him and his adorable afro-haired son.

The acting was superb, but the character of Chris Gardner himself was a little overdone. He seemed infalliable, in a sense, and a bit too good to be true. However, he played the role of a father perfectly--impatient, angry, but also loving and a very good teacher and motivator. I suppose I just wanted to see more of who he was rather than what he was trying to be for his son. The mother (Thandie Newton) played her part well, I think, but it is difficult for me to understand how she could give up the son that she claimed she loved so much.

Not that I am an expert, but I thought it was also filmed well. The voices, script, and the fact that the natural charm of the son, Jaden, was not overused really enhanced the movie. I am not sure how much I can say about Will Smith's son because I think that his presence in the movie was more of a tool to show Chris Gardner's motivations rather than develop a character in himself, but I think that he has a bright future ahead if he chooses to pursue a career in acting.

This may be strange, but I liked the fact that it highlighted the point that many are satisfied (and are indeed happy) with money. Of course, greed was not the motivating factor in this particular film but security for his son and a personal achievement for himself, but the fact that Chris Gardner defined his single moment of happiness when he was awarded the job he sought showed the perceptions we, or people in general, have about success and how we can be happy with ourselves. It did not seem as if he had a passion to necessarily be a stockbroker, but simply because he had two qualities: he was good with numbers and good with people. Strangely, I liked this bit too, because I do not think that there are enough people who do what they truly enjoy but simply what they are good at.

I am not the one to be necessarily inspired by a movie, but they certainly do make me reflect. I now wonder about the lack of achievements in my own life and my lack of goals and aspirations. Above all, I wonder about the lack of motivation in my life to really change myself and actively pursue something worthwhile.

Is it so bad to simply want to be in the 'norm' (such as it is) and adopt a simple, albeit secure lifestyle?

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Movie Review: Pursuit of Happyness


Author: Viva La Vi


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