Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

December 4, 2020

The Pursuit of Happyness review

Filed under: Our FIlms,Their Films — Rajeev @ 4:44 pm

Mar 09, 2007

Cast: Will Smith, Jaden Smith

Director: Gabriele Muccino

One of the most inspiring movies you’ll find at the multiplex this week is the new Will Smith starrer The Pursuit of Happyness, which is the only Will Smith film that’s made me weep.

Come to think of it, that’s not true. I also wept through Wild Wild West, but that was for another reason – that film was unbearable.

Anyways, The Pursuit of Happyness is not your typical Will Smith film because it’s not about aliens or killer robots or fast-talking cops. It’s not about one guy saving the world. No, it’s none of those things.

It is in fact, the true-life story of Chris Gardener, a struggling salesman in 1980s San Francisco who’s determined to give his son a good life.

Now career-wise Chris is going nowhere, his wife’s just walked out on him, he doesn’t have a roof over his head and he barely has enough money to feed his son.

But Chris has hope and he has a never-say-die spirit, which, if you’ve watched enough films you’d know is enough to see you through the hardest times.

On one hand, The Pursuit of Happyness is an underdog story, the story of courage in the face of all odds. On the other hand it’s a potrait of fatherhood, a very relatable, a very agonising story of a man struggling to be a good father, a man desperate not to let his son down.

There are scenes in this film that’ll drive you to tears. Like that scene in which Chris and his son are forced to spend a night in a tube-station restroom. Or the scene in which Chris is left to pay the taxi fare for a ride he cannot afford. Those are the moments that touch and break your heart.

You know, this film wouldn’t be half the film it is if it wasn’t for the remarkable performance by Will Smith who plays Chris Gardener straight from the heart.

It’s not one of those studied, scripted performances, it’s a character that he’s clearly understood and become, and that’s why he’s able to deliver such a natural, spontaneous and heartfelt performance.

I’m not surprised Will Smith was nominated for an Oscar for this film. I also have to put in a word here for Jaden Smith, Will Smith’s real-life son who plays Chris’ son in the film.

For a child actor, for one who’s performing in front of the camera for the first time, Jaden comes across as very confident and very comfortable and although that could have something to do with the fact that he’s working with his dad, you cannot discount the fact that he plays his part so naturally you just want to hug the little one and tell him that everything’s going to be okay.

I’m going to go with three out of five and a recommendation not to miss The Pursuit of Happyness, it’s an inspiring film that’ll reaffirm your faith in hard work and courage.

Of course, if you’ve been wondering why they’ve spelt Happyness with a ‘y’, then you’re just going to have to find out from watching the film.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress