Mini-Movie Review: Pursuit Of Happyness

It amazes me that a movie like Pursuit of Happyness could actually get made because it breaks all of Hollywood’s rules. There are no special effects; the dad, Will Smith, is a better parent than mom — and he makes it on his own, without getting any lucky breaks, help from the government, liberals, or Affirmative Action. Moreover, even though there are plenty of white, rich men in the movie, they’re portrayed not as racists, but as generally decent folks who like Will Smith’s character because he’s smart, works hard, and has a great attitude (Imagine that!).

In short, it’s a movie about putting your nose to the grindstone, being persistent, not making any excuses, and doing whatever it takes to succeed even when life gets in the way — and life gets in the way a lot during the movie. Smith’s character, who is based on real life success story Chris Gardner, is constantly beset with adversity. He gets into business selling overpriced bone scanners and struggles desperately to make ends meet when he can’t convince doctors to buy his product, which is considered a luxury item. The financial problems get so bad that his wife leaves. He’s kicked out of his apartment, his car is towed by the city, and he and his young son become homeless. Yet, Will Smith’s character stays in a Dean Witter internship, with no pay, because it’s a tremendous opportunity.

No matter how many times life plants a kick squarely in his ribs, Smith’s character sucks it up, soldiers on, and keeps fighting to make an opportunity for himself and his son. Was his dogged persistence rewarded? You’ll have to watch the movie to see — and let me encourage you not just to watch the movie, but to take your teenage kids with you to watch the movie. In fact, this movie should be mandatory viewing in every high school classroom in America because it teaches kids the truth: that the difference between success and failure, as often as not, isn’t luck, it’s gut wrenching hard work and determination.

Granted, this movie doesn’t sound like it would be all that exciting, but it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time and I give it a thumbs way, way, way up!

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