Will Smith stars in the inspirational true story of Chris Gardner, a San Francisco salesman who's struggling to make ends meet. When his girlfriend Linda (Thandie Newton) walks out, Chris is left to raise their 5-year-old ... more »son Christopher (Jaden Smith) on his own. Chris' determination finally pays off when he lands an unpaid internship in a brutally competitive stockbroker-training program, where only one in twenty interns will make the cut. But without a salary, Chris and his son are evicted from their apartment and are forced to sleep on the street, in homeless shelters and even behind the locked doors of a metro station bathroom. With self- confidence and the love and trust of his son, Chris Gardner rises above his obstacles to become a Wall Street legend.« less
Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX Reviewed on 2/19/2010...
Will and Jaden Smith provide excellent performances in this true rags to riches story, which is inspirational and moving. Just as good the second time watching as the first; as the character development is in depth but not tiring. The emotional connection that you get to the characters is powerful and deep. The humor that runs through the story provide a gentle relief to the horrible nature of what they are going through. This movie has an appeal to any audience and I recommend it.
Will Smith's Strong, Urgent Performance Elevates this Realit
mirasreviews | McLean, VA USA | 06/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
""The Pursuit of Happyness" is an unabashed tearjerker about the American Dream and commitment to family in the face of great odds. It was inspired by the true story of Chris Gardner, who spent some time in the 1980s homeless while trying to care for his young son and make it through a stockbroker internship. The film is fictionalized but stays true to Gardner's struggle for success and dedication to his son. Gardner's autobiography, which goes by the same title, was actually published after the film was written. In San Francisco, 1981, Chris Gardner (Will Smith) can't make ends meet selling portable bone density scanners, while his embittered wife Linda (Thandie Newton) waitresses 2 shifts a day. Chris spies a man with an enviable sportscar on the street one day and asks him what he does for a living. He's a stockbroker. So Chris decides that's what he'll be. He must be at the top of his class after 6 months in Dean Witter's competitive internship program to be hired. Meanwhile, Chris has no wife, no money, no paying job, and a 5-year old son (Jaden Smith).
A story of hardship and hard work, paternal love and frustration, could easily be too saccharine for words. It's saved from this fate by Chris Gardner's desperation. Behind his indomitable pluck, Gardner is truly desperate. He has no money, no home, uncertain prospects, and the responsibility of providing for a young child. He hides his circumstances from his colleagues. He's spends an inordinate amount of energy chasing errant bone scanners around town. He compromises his ethics. His single-mindedness eventually takes a toll on his son. Chris is struggling for his life. And his financial problems are something the audience can understand and may themselves fear. That's why "The Pursuit of Happyness" works so well. Credit is due Will Smith's Oscar-nominated performance and Italian director Gabriele Muccino's understanding of intense emotions painted with small strokes.
The DVD (Sony 2007): There are 4 featurettes, the song "I Can" by Bebe Winans and Dave Koz (5 min, audio), and a feature commentary. "Making Pursuit: An Italian Take on the American Dream" (17 min) interviews Gabriele Muccino, Will Smith, and the producers about choosing Muccino to direct. Muccino talks about filming in San Francisco and working in English. "Father and Son: On Screen and Off" (7 min) recounts casting Jaden Smith after auditioning hundreds of other children, and Will Smith talks about working with his son. "The Man Behind the Movie: A Conversation with Chris Gardner" (12 min) interviews Gardner about his participation in the film, and Will Smith talks about learning from him. "Inside the Rubik's Cube" (6 min) is a fun short documentary on the persistent popularity of the Cube. There is a nice audio commentary by director Gabriele Muccino, in English. Muccino tells us how he got the job, discusses themes, recreating the 1980s, Will Smith's trust, locations, and some technical details. Subtitles are available for the film in English, French, Spanish. Dubbing available in French."
The best movie of 2006!
Michael Renzulli | Phoenix, Arizona | 07/16/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The one film that sticks out in my mind as the best movie of 2006 is The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith. This movie is based on a book of the same title authored by Chris Gardner.
In the movie, Gardner is a medical product salesman who ends up splitting up with his wife and ends up homeless with his 5 year-old son. Determined to not give up, Gardner endures homelessness and ends up pursuing an internship for a stockbroker position at a major Wall Street investment firm. Despite the trials and tribulations Gardner went through, not only due to the lack of a roof over his head but also the hard work related to his internship and even an IRS seizure of his money to boot, Gardner's endurance and hard work pays off.
The movie, and I am sure the book, is a testament to how anyone can get themselves out of poverty and become wealthy with hard work, persistence and determination. Gardner had an even bigger reason to work hard due to the need for him to provide a good life for his son.
The story of Chris Gardner's going from rags to riches is an inspiration for us all and all of the elements of this film makes for one heckuva great flick!"
"Will Smith takes a departure from his usual daredevilry to star in this most emphatic story about a man trying to make it in the world. Chris Gardner (Smith) has made a bad business decision: He spends his entire life savings on a batch of bone density scanners that he can't sell, and now his family is in deep financial jeopardy. His wife, Linda (Thandie Newton), is forced to work two jobs and his son is placed in a day care facility that looks like a makeshift sweatshop. Chris himself travels from clinic to clinic, trying (but failing miserably) to sell what looks like a giant paperweight.
On one of his daily escapades, Chris finds himself in front of the San Francisco Stock Exchange and has an epiphany that will change his life. He wants to be one of those happy people that seem to pour out the double doors everyday with their smiling faces, shining cars, and jingling pockets. In a last ditch I've-got-nothing-to-lose effort at "happyness", Chris enlists for a non-paying internship at a brokerage firm, armed with only a high school diploma and the ability to solve the Rubik's cube at a mind-boggling speed. However, the hits keep on coming: Chris loses his home, his wife and a few of his colossal paperweights while he and his son brave unbearable odds on the streets of San Francisco.
"The Pursuit of Happyness" will make you laugh, cry and empathize with a character that is executed to three dimensional perfection. Chris is a man who is willing to stake everything to go for a dream that most people would say was far beyond his reach. He is sick of hearing "no" all his life; he is fed up with having no money all the time; and he is tired of being emasculated by his embittered wife everyday. Chris' only source of inspiration is his eight year old son, a mascot egging him on with the simplest of smiles. No obstacle is going to deter him, even if it means sleeping in a public toilet. Will he make it? You have to watch the film! "
David M. Rossi | 04/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Those who have written reviews for this movie of anything less than 5 stars have NO idea what it means to be lower than low, at the absolute bottom with no visible way out. You see, in order to understand the struggle, you have to have LIVED it. I understand this movie because I HAVE lived it. Some other review cited that it took far too long to display the epic struggle that left us no time to relish the moment of success. I submit that were it not for the INTENSE struggle he faced, there would BE no reason to celebrate his ultimate success. It would have less meaning. I have NEVER cried so hard as I did at the end of this movie. During the course of the film, you FEEL his pain of wanting to be just that little bit more than what he felt himself to be. You yearn for him to experience that one bit of happiness to know that he doesn't HAVE to sell his blood anymore to make a few bucks to be able to fix a light in a bone density scanner he sells to provide a meal and a place to live for a few weeks for himself and his son. This man went through more tribulations than any of the other reviewers here have seen in their own lives or the family and friends that surround them. If you want to see a film that TRULY lifts you up by the climax, see the pursuit of happyness, and IGNORE the many discouraging reviews from people who have no clear understanding of personal anguish and eventual triumph. Will Smith would be hard pressed to ever again be handed a script for a more heart wrenching and satisfying movie. 5 stars +++"
Running Toward Happiness: The American Dream Revisited
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 03/28/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is a film that despite all its flaws (repetition of chases, repeated encounters that mirror the last, emotional overload, excessive playing time of two hours, etc) reinforces some truly important human values: love between a father and son, pushing forward toward success despite all the roadblocks, kindness for the plight of the homeless, and strength of character in the face of hopelessness. Knowing that the story (by Steve Conrad) is based on fact, that Chris Gardner really existed to survive these hardships, makes the film even more impactful. Director Gabriele Muccino knows how to aim for the heart and the film is bound to touch all who view it.
Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is an African American very bright young man married to Linda (Thandie Newton) who has a difficult time working double shifts at a thankless job to support the family due to Chris' inability to sell Bone Density Evaluators that he used the family's life savings to invest in for a future that looks increasingly grim. Chris and Linda and their young son Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) live next to the poverty line and finally Linda leaves, frustrated, angry and hurt. Chris and his son strike out on their own: the relationship between father and son as enacted by the Smiths is as touching as any on film. Bruised by the lack of success in selling his machines, Chris encounters a happy man who says his secret is working as a stockbroker with Dean Witter in downtown San Francisco. Chris applies for employment, passes an entrance exam and is taken on with the firm - only to discover he is an unpaid intern who must pass a hefty exam and perform at top speed in order to succeed.
With no income except from Chris' continued attempts to see his medical machines poverty embraces the father and son and they end up homeless and hungry. The only things keeping Chris afloat are his love and concern for his son and his intense will to survive and succeed. How this works out is known because of all the PR from the film and from the actual facts of the story.
Will Smith and his son Jaden give warmly human performances, giving the camera as much with the silence of their faces as they deliver with lines. Yes, there are many moments when the heartstrings are heavily plucked, but there is no problem defending that in a society too famished for stories of human dignity in the face of tragedy. The large supporting cast is well directed and the production values are excellent. PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is well worth the journey. Grady Harp, March 07 "