The Pursuit of Happyness – Movie Review

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“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

_ The Pursuit of Happyness _
Title: The Pursuit of Happyness

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” is a phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. They are our “inalienable rights” and what we as Americans hold to. Notice that happiness is not guaranteed in this statement. The world, the government, society as a whole does not owe any of us a great life. But we have every opportunity to pursue that happiness with every fiber of our being. Real life stock broker Chris Gardner did that very thing in 1981. His story is told in the new movie aptly titled, “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

Gardner (Will Smith) is at the end of his marriage, his bank account and his rope. He risks even the little he has left when he takes on an unpaid, 6 month internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm. We watch Chris try to take care of his 5 year old son (Jaden Smith) on the streets of San Francisco, holding on to his dream and his desire to make a better life for him and his son. We stress out with him as he balances the cut throat internship where only one intern will be given a paying job and the rest are back to square one. While most are working nine and ten hour days Chris has to leave early every day to make sure he is in line at the homeless shelter to keep from sleeping on the streets. That is the mountain he must climb.

The Pursuit of Happyness teams up real life father and son, Will and Jaden Smith. Their off screen bound brings much warmth and realness to this film and really solidifies the moments they share on screen. Gardner did everything for his son and you can see that same love and devotion in Will Smith as well. Jaden holds his own with his blockbuster father and you can tell some of that parental talent was passed on. Sorry to say but most child actors can drag down a movie because they have yet to learn how to be in character and usually deliver their lines like a bad 1st grade Easter Pageant. Jaden is totally relaxed as if he had been doing this his whole life.

This film is emotional and thought provoking on many levels. It’s the human struggle displayed in 117 minutes of screen time. You will look at your own life and wonder if you have in you what Chris did. It will make you pick up those dusty dreams you shelved away at the back of your brain and encourage you to give them another shot. Many of those dreams may not be as grandiose as Gardner’s but the size of the dream is not important. It’s the size of the will. Rated PG-13 for some language, it is an inspirational story for the whole family and while those under 13 may be lost in the drama everyone else will find something grand to take from the film. I give The Pursuit of Happyness 4 out of 5 shots. Know before you go, I’m Matt Mungle.

The Mungle (matt@spin180.net)(12/13/06)

“Matt is a member of the North Texas Film Critics Association (NTFCA) and hosts the weekly syndicated Indie Rock Radio Show Spin 180. Plus with his wife Cindy they do a weekly radio feature, The Mungles on Movies. For additional reviews and interview clips visit the website www.mungleshow.com”

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