"Pursuit of Happyness Times Two!"
What You Need To Know:
Movies like PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS do not come along very often. The movie not only shows that it is possible to achieve the American Dream through hard work, it also shows that we can build strong families through commitment, love and trust, regardless of the circumstances. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is one of the most inspirational movies of the year.
(CC, BBB, CapCapCap, Ro, RH, LL, V, N, A, D, M) Very strong moral worldview with strong pro-family content in a redemptive portrayal of a positive father figure, plus very strong capitalist content showing the importance of working hard and some possible Romantic elements and some revisionist history for dramatic effect; 16 to 19 obscenities (including one "f" word); light violence is present in the form of parents yelling at each other and one short scuffle between two men; no sexual content; a woman is shown in a bra and slip getting ready for work, upper male nudity as a man’s chest is briefly shown in the shower, and a child is shown in his underwear once jumping on a bed in playfulness, and once being bathed by his father; light alcohol use; smoking; and, two instances of property being stolen from the main character that he later reclaims.
THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is the inspiring true-life story of Chris Gardner’s pursuit of not one, but two dreams: financial success and everything that that could bring to the life of both he and his son, and the other is to end the cycle in his family of the absentee father. The pursuit of both of these dreams is what makes this an important movie about one man’s American and family dream come true.
Chris, played with brilliant passion by Will Smith, is a man struggling to make ends meet as a medical equipment salesman in the economically challenging Reagan Era of the 1980s. One day, after being turned down during a sales call, a chance meeting on the street sets Chris in motion to change his life for both he and his son. Chris decides to take a stressful internship at a highly competitive stock brokerage. Viewers are treated to all the ups and downs of the job. The long hours, quirky bosses, and the gopherish requests such as fetching coffee and parking the boss’s car that goes along with it. Chris works hard with the belief that, in the end, all his hard work is going to pay off for both he and his son.
As Chris begins his internship, his personal life starts to crumble. His wife buckles under the pressures and leaves him and their son for a life of her own. Chris is now alone, a single father determined to make life better for his son. Soon, however, father and son find themselves homeless. They spend their nights sleeping in shelters, busses and, at the truest low point, a public restroom. Through it all, the relationship between father and son is strengthened, sweetened and even in the middle of their circumstances full of love and trust.
It was a special treat to watch Will Smith perform his role as Chris Gardner and to see Will’s true life son Jaden Christopher Syre Smith play the role of his onscreen son at the same time. This existing dynamic brought an intimacy and symmetry to these roles that is unforgettable. Jaden also does his fair share of steeling the spotlight from his dad from time to time. The acting by both Father and Son is exceptional, but this is a boy to watch.
Movies like PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS do not come along very often. The movie not only shows that it is possible to achieve the American Dream through hard work, it also shows that we can build strong families through commitment, love and trust, regardless of the circumstances. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS is a highly inspirational movie. It easily exceeds its emotional and heartwarming trailer without being overly sappy. While the movie has an uplifting “work hard and anything is possible” message, the deepest theme is that of family. In effect, it is the positive power of the father’s commitment to and relationship with his son that helps the father overcome tough obstacles.
MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for young children due to some foul language.