Evelyn GoughIn the Picture
The Pursuit of Happyness
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Its easy enough to whistle along to Dont Worry, Be Happy when everything in your life is going well. But lets face it, its pretty hard not to worry when youre unemployed and homeless with a young son in tow. Yep, the United States may consider itself the greatest country in the world but if youre sleeping in a public toilet, unable to afford healthcare and cant find a job, then life really isnt all that great.
In fact it sucks!!
Thats the situation Chris Gardner (Will Smith) finds himself in. Its 1981 and after making some bad investments lifes got really tough for the Gardner family. After struggling financially for months Chriss wife Linda (Thandie Newton) has had enough. She wants to take their five-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) and move to New York. But Chris refuses to part with his child despite the fact theyre about to be evicted.
The two soon find themselves without a roof over their heads and they spend many nights in homeless shelters, cheap motels and at a real low-point, the mens toilet at a railway station.
However Chris refuses to let his dream die. He was the smartest kid in his class, both at school and at naval college, and he plans to make it as a stockbroker even if it nearly kills him. And it nearly does, considering he has to work for free for several months before a company will even consider taking him on.
Based on an inspiring true story, The Pursuit of Happiness is obviously a pet project for Will Smith. Not only did he produce it, it also stars his own son Jaden, who thankfully appears to have inherited his parents acting ability, (his mum is actress Jada Pinkett Smith) as well as their movie star good looks. Like me, you may have gotten the wrong impression from the trailer and thought it was a sappy and sentimental film. To my relief it was neither. Its a well-made, engrossing story about a remarkable man who is now living the American dream all over the world, not just in America.
This isnt my idea of a fun night out at the movies but if you enjoy a great drama with a guaranteed happy ending youll love The Pursuit of Happiness.