Review: The Pursuit Of Happyness

January 11th, 2010


By Adam McLane Some men are made successful because of the family they are born into or the education they receive. For everyone else, success is the result of hard work and a knack for making a series of good, timely decisions. The Pursuit of Happyness documents one mans struggle towards success in a third, elusive category. A category available only to a few people who work hard, make good decisions, and overcome adversity which catapults them past the realms of the successful and captivate the hearts of the world.

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Chris Gardner (Will Smith) grew up without a father. When his son, Christopher, (Jaden Smith) was born he committed that he would always be present in his son’s life. This was complicated when Chris struggled to carry his weight in his marriage and his wife Linda (Thandi Newton) decided to leave him. 

Just when things couldn’t get worse for Chris, an opportunity arises which could drastically improve life for the long run. The problem is that this opportunity is an unpaid internship with no guarantee of success. As the main character describes, Thomas Jefferson wasn’t kidding when he said that happiness would be the result of a pursuit.

As the story unfolds, the viewer falls in love with Chris and Christopher on their quest towards happiness and a new life.

The chemistry between the star, Will Smith, and his son, Jaden Smith, is worth the price of admission. This is furthered by Jaden’s incredible on-screen performance. The hallmark of this performance is his ability to tell a good joke. Likewise, Will Smith accurately captured the desperation of the situation coupled with the humility of having to resort to living in motels, church homeless shelters, and even a public bathroom to fulfill his dream. The entire film acted as a strong reminder that a father’s responsibility is to protect, provide, and raise his children. 


Who should see this movie?

The Pursuit of Happyness is not the action packed movie that Will Smith is known for. While the content of the movie is very clean, (Only a few instances of foul language, no nudity or sexual content) younger adolescents and children wouldn’t enjoy the content. Middle school students leaving the theater described the movie as long and boring. The same would likely not be true of all middle school students, but the content probably fails to speak to them as they are largely oblivious of life struggles.


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