Critic Reviews



Based on 36 critic reviews provided by
I don't think I've seen a mainstream movie get fatherhood so right since "Kramer vs . Kramer": the fear, the indulgence, the snappishness, the pre-occupied "uh-huhs" as a child natters about his day, the steamrolling waves of love.
Philadelphia Inquirer
The relationship between Chris and his diminutive namesake is at the core of the film - the determination to be there for his son, no matter what; the mentoring, the pair's goofy, lovely banter. And Smith and his bright-eyed boy pull it off brilliantly.
Charlotte Observer
My sentimentality meter never went off, and Smith proved what people have forgotten since his breakthroughs in "Where the Day Takes You" and "Six Degrees of Separation" 13 years ago: He's a serious actor.
Entertainment Weekly
It's a beautiful and understated performance, one that hums with a richer, quieter music than Smith has mustered before.
Smith wins our hearts without losing his dignity, as Chris suits up for success by day and fights off despair by night. The role needs gravity, smarts, charm, humor and a soul that's not synthetic. Smith brings it. He's the real deal.
Will Smith has the right quality for the role -- he's an easy man to root for -- but he augments this by channeling some inner quality of desperation and need.
If The Pursuit of Happyness didn't star Will Smith and his adorable son Jaden, it might be just another tearjerker rags-to-riches story. But their chemistry raises the level of the film, making it heartfelt and compelling.
New York Daily News
You may have to go back to 1973's "Paper Moon" and the father/daughter work of Ryan O'Neal and 10-year-old Tatum for equal excellence in nepotism.
Chicago Tribune
While the film is roughly half grit and half sugar, it works because Smith sticks to a tougher, more rewarding recipe of 99.9 percent grit and only .1 percent sugar.
"Inspired by" is an interesting phrase because the movie is more inspiring than inspired. The man's struggles are emotionally engaging, but dramatically it lacks the layering of a "Kramer vs. Kramer," which it superficially resembles.
The Hollywood Reporter
This is a slick studio production with a huge movie star and top professionals occupying every production role so that the polish of this well-made film makes even homelessness look neat and tidy.
Wall Street Journal
The pursuit is manipulative and repetitive.

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