Analysis And Review Of The Movie The Pursuit Of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a Hollywood biographical movie that was premiered in 2006. Inspired by a true story, it depicts through the life examples of Chris Gardener that anyone can accomplish their own happiness; however, it comes with a cost; it requires determination and motivation. Happiness isn’t easy to attain, and sometimes, it challenges you first before you can truly be who you are. As mentioned in an article, “Happiness is equated with feeling pressure or contentment, meaning that happiness is not to be confused with joy, ecstasy, bliss, or other more intense feelings.” 

The movie stars Will Smith, with co-stars Jaden Smith, Thandie Newton, Kurt Fuller, Brian Howe, and James Karen, among many others. Will smith who plays the role of the protagonist, Chris Gardener, is a great man deep down who wants to do right, but everything just seems to be falling apart. It went downhill for him when he lost his job and caused financial instability for his family, and then has troubles with his relationship with his wife.

The small details are what really made the movie realistic, including the low- rent day care that is owned by a broken English-speaking Chinese woman who can’t even spell the word happiness correctly. Will smith takes on his roll and makes you believe he is going through the experiences of Chris Gardener, and not simply an actor reading his lines. He goes from getting kicked out of his paycheck-to-paycheck apartment to hobnobbing with the wealthy for connections in such a believable and easy manner.

The visual and sound effects of this film were impressive and had an intensifying visual scene that were emotional and remarkably outstanding. This film won many awards and had eighteen nominations and various other awards including, the ASCAP Film and Television Music Award, and the best Capri Movie of the Year Award. Additionally, the soundtrack of this film was put together very well which can bring the emotions out of you. The soundtrack reflects on helping to depict the struggles of his life with a contribution of basic fashion on the urban environment of the film.

Most blacks are often homeless and do not have access to good education, as demonstrated in the film, most Americans believe in the economic system. Poverty is extremely ubiquitous among certain races or ethnicities. Gardener has the potential on what it takes to earn a tremendous amount of money; however, he wasn’t given the chance due to his color or his ethical background, the way the system works discriminates against people from the lower class. He works as a salesperson in a company that sells bone scanners that most doctors cannot afford, therefore, he wasn’t able to earn money due to the lack of clients.

The main theme of this movie is inequality, the protagonist, Chris Gardener, undergoes insurmountable challenges as he seeks ways to provide for his family. According to Scott Coltrane, a sociologist at the University of California, points out that “Father’s style of parenting has changed too. Fathers are beginning to look more like mothers.” (qtd. in Cullen and Grossman).

Later in the movie his wife leaves him because of the unfulfillment of the promises he gave her, nevertheless, Gardener still worked hard to give his son the life he deserves. Given his lack of education and homelessness, it was hard for him to find a job, which depicts the social injustice and economic imbalance for most African- American people.

As Gardener’s desperation mounts, he clings tenaciously to the hope that one day all his hard work will pay off, and his dogged pursuit of a better life forges a powerful father-son bond that no misfortune can destroy.

Chris Gardener believes in capitalism, and he plays the competitive game as well. Being poor did not stop him from being what he wanted, he believed that success depended only on efforts and skills, not by fate or luck. He has a dream and he pursued it for him and for his son. Certainly, his son’s love is what carries him through all his challenges and hardships, and it is the best part of the movie. The love between them shows that despite every obstacle they face together, if they have one another, everything can be overcome.

Furthermore, The Pursuit of Happyness presents the American Dream as an achievable reality when he pounds his first contract from the man who pays attention to him because the truth is, money matters whether it be in a film or real life. Gardener doesn’t want just a better life; he wants a secured life for his family especially for his son. His life for his son is his reason and motivation for everything he does.

Towards the end of the movie, Chris Gardener successfully sold all his medical bone scanners, but the IRS took all his money away due to unpaid taxes. He still hasn’t lost hope and continues to fight then, at the resolution of the plot, when he doesn’t even know what was about to happen, he receives the great news that he got the job. Indeed, the future is uncertain, so just give what you can offer, and everything will fall into place.

When watching this film, I found that unlike other unusual successful stories, this movie is realistic because there are many failures, defeats, and missed opportunities before you can reach the brink of happiness. I paid more attention on how they dealt with difficulties and continue to adhere to their dreams, and I found the persistence to my dream through this movie.

In conclusion, many traits of motivation and determination were shown as Gardener struggled with the pyramid known as the Maslow’s hierarchy that often depicts the human needs which goes up when satisfactions are met. He achieved happiness by attaining his dream job. This film proves an interesting comparison with its vision on what it means to be a black man in an American society. It is okay if people don’t believe in your dream as long as you believe in yourself. “You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.” – Chris Gardener, The Pursuit of Happyness

This is a crucial movie for people to watch and reflect on their life experiences. Realizing life can be reversed in a blink of an eye, losing everything you have or love. I would recommend everyone to watch this film, and to take into consideration on poverty and inequality, and realize that it is not a choice, and that everyone has a story to share if you’re only willing to listen.   

16 December 2021
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