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The Pursuit of Happyness
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Pursuit of Happyness More at IMDbPro »

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436 out of 509 people found the following review useful:

Will Smith is Oscar-worthy, no doubt about it.

9/10
Author: roachG-1 from United States
15 December 2006

Here's the deal: It's real, it's heavy, and it's inspirational, but NOT AT ALL cheesy. Don't like that? Don't see it. I won't say much else. I will say that Will Smith was shockingly good now that he's paid his dues with "Men in Black" and "Bad Boys."

I was very happy that this film never got political and blamed Reagan for the number of "down on their luck" people that were shown, nor was the race card ever pulled out. It was also refreshing that Smith's character never blamed anybody for his troubles.

It's very funny at parts, but be prepared for some serious drama. In no ways is it cliché or contrived or boring. Let's just say that's it not Oliver Stone dramatic. This truly is a must see. To say "I laughed, I cried" would be really lame. It is the truth, though.

We know that Scorsese's crowning achievement "The Departed" is going to take the cake at the Oscars, and I won't be complaining. But this movie deserves to be experienced and taken in by the masses.

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318 out of 380 people found the following review useful:

Take your parents to see it over the holidays

8/10
Author: thinkr from United States
30 November 2006

I was fortunate to see this movie in a screening. I really enjoyed it, and felt that it lived up to the teary and heartwarming trailer. While the movie has an uplifting "go for your dreams" message, the deepest theme is that of family.

Will Smith did a great job as the father trying to protect his son from their circumstances of becoming homeless as much as he can, while at the same time trying to work in the competitive world of stocks as an un-paid intern. Jaden Smith was outstanding as the preschool-aged kid who knows things are going wrong and tries to have a stiff upper lip, but just can't do it all the time.

The story is very touching and was close to home for me. My family has been through some tough times, and this movie just reminded me of how much my parents struggled to provide for our family and yet kept life fun as much as they could. I am excited to go see this with my parents as a way to say thank you.

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353 out of 455 people found the following review useful:

Great Movie

10/10
Author: jvgoodwell from United States
6 December 2006

I was blessed to have seen this movie last night. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me love life.

This movie is a great movie that depicts a love of a father for his son. Will Smith did an incredible job and deserves every accolade available to him. His son also did a fantastic job.

There is a great lesson that is learned in this movie and it truly shares the struggles of everyday life.

This movie was heart felt and touching. It was truly an experience worth having. Thank you for making this movie and I look forward to seeing it again.

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226 out of 265 people found the following review useful:

If You've Ever Been Poor, This Movie May Be Hard to Watch

8/10
Author: Danusha_Goska Save Send Delete
18 December 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

If you've ever been poor, this movie may be hard to watch. It depicts poverty in America in gut wrenchingly accurate ways. I've been as poor as Chris Gardner, and, like him, I've been poor among very rich people in the Bay Area while trying to work my way up.

Chris Gardner is a loving father and failing businessman. He is chosen for a competitive internship at Dean Witter, a stock brokerage. The internship, which offers Chris a very long shot at a better life, doesn't pay any salary. Chris has to live without a salary for six months while risking just about everything for that long shot gamble.

Chris is really smart. He can solve a Rubrik's cube in minutes. But, he's poor. Poverty, like an octopus, keeps trying to suck him down to the bottom, and make him stay there.

His car is towed. His wife walks out on him, leaving him with a five year old son. He is arrested for unpaid traffic tickets. He becomes homeless. He has to rely on a homeless shelter.

All this while, he must appear for work in the morning in a suit and tie, and be ready to charm some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the Bay Area. These people take wealth so much for granted that two of them stiff him for cab fare.

Having lived through similar experiences, I cringed throughout this movie. My stomach hurt. I winced. I cried. I hugged my knees to my chest.

The movie is very accurate, but painful to watch. I hope a lot of rich people, who think that they understand poverty, see it.

This movie will be politically controversial. First of all, it doesn't touch the race issue with a ten foot pole. For example, when Chris appears to stiff a taxi driver for fare (it was really the rich white guy who failed to pay), the taxi driver never uses the "n" word. In real life, I think he probably would have.

Is the movie afraid to talk about race, or does it not want to? I don't know, but I know that some will protest the movie's not shoving race in the movie goer's face. I'm not one of those people. The movie's approach to race -- treating it as almost incidental -- worked for me. As a poor white person, I can tell you that poor white people face the same obstacles Chris did.

Second, does the movie sell the message that if you work hard, you will succeed, no matter what, and does that message tell the truth about success in America? I think that the movie is open to interpretation. Some will see it as an indictment of poverty in America. The scene of carefree rich people driving past the line to get into a homeless shelter is pretty devastating. Other people will become angry because they believe that the movie's depiction of hard work leading to rewards, in some cases, is too facile. I disagree, but that's what you'll hear.

Third, is this movie meant to chastise black men who abandon their children? Chris is a role model exactly because he moves heaven and earth to be a good father to his son. This will be debated back and forth.

The movie has a big philosophical statement to make, that has been lost on many reviewers, for example, Richard Schickel in TIME.

Chris is shown running throughout the movie. Remember the title of the movie: "The PURSUIT of Happiness." Chris places emphasis on "pursuit." Jefferson, when he penned the Declaration of Independence, did not promise Americans happiness, but only the right to pursue it. Chris says, at one point in the movie, paraphrase, "I am happy right now. It is a fleeting moment." We experience happiness in eyeblinks. The rest of the time we, like Chris, are chasing after it.

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220 out of 266 people found the following review useful:

Entertainment galore, plus inspiration for families, for entrepreneurs and for social action

10/10
Author: Neil Carlson from Grand Rapids, Michigan
15 December 2006

They just don't make many this good. The audience and I cried, laughed, cheered and applauded. The climactic scene is as powerful and cathartic as The Shawshank Redemption's golden moment. Will Smith is terrific, his son Jaden is just perfect, and Thandie Newton puts in a convincing supporting act. The movie's 1980s San Francisco is absorbing and authentic without stealing the show.

Best of all, if you are a thinker, this movie will challenge your visions of family, business and society. On one hand, the film reinforces the great American myth of the self-made man and equal opportunity. Myths are not necessarily false simply for being myths--we can make some of them true by choice, and our belief in this myth still helps make America great. Free-market capitalism is not the cure to all ills--surely it is the source of many ills--but it does open social doors that nothing else can even budge. On the other hand, if you can leave this movie without a burning indignation that any American child of any race should have to struggle just to have a place to sleep, you must be cynical indeed. This movie doesn't get on a soapbox, not even for a second--it just tells a real-life story that owns you before you know it.

I hope a few of us will let our motivations own us for years instead of hours after the movie's over.

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206 out of 258 people found the following review useful:

Meaningful and Uplifting

10/10
Author: lisa_ann_sanders from United States
14 December 2006

My husband and I had an opportunity to attend a screener of this movie last night. We had seen several commercials and a trailer for the film and we had high hopes, we were not disappointed. Many times "inspired by" films feel like hard sells or bids for Oscar glory. "Pursuit of Happiness" is none of that. This is an honest, meaningful film that will stay with you long after you leave the theatre. The viewer becomes fully invested in the struggles of Chris Gardner and his son. Will and Jadyn Smith deserve huge kudos. The real-life father and son dynamic enriched the film and don't know if other actors could have been as powerful. Be warned, there are several tissue inducing moments. This movie is well worth a ticket!

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168 out of 204 people found the following review useful:

Amazing!

10/10
Author: jellienellie818 from United States
16 December 2006

I have been a fan of Will Smith for years and I have to say this may be his best film yet! "The Pursuit of Happiness" is just a wonderful (based on a true) story, full of adventure, hope, and pain. I saw the movie last night in a packed theater. Big Willie Weekend has returned, and for good reason! It's a great movie to see during the holidays and definitely a tear-jerker! Perfect for a date, a night out with friends, or even with family. If you ever thought Will Smith really couldn't act (and shame on you!), you'll think otherwise once you see this movie. You can really feel what he's going through just by looking in his eyes. And Jaden Smith is too adorable! Their on screen chemistry is almost unbearable to watch! Go see this movie! Great acting, great directing, great writing...you won't regret it!

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161 out of 205 people found the following review useful:

Great performances, inspiring story

9/10
Author: Craig Anderson from Seattle, WA
7 December 2006

I was involved with one of the first test audiences almost a year ago, and came away quite impressed with the acting performances and heartfelt punch of Pursuit of Happiness. This is easily one of Smith's best films, as he pours his heart and soul into the main character. While the plot may remain a bit transparent, it leaves you asking the question of yourself - how long would you keep battling to get what you really want out of life? I plan on seeing the film again when it releases to the general public, and am very interested to see what changes were made after running it through the test screenings. As I saw it then, it needed very few, if any, changes.

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162 out of 208 people found the following review useful:

Amazing

10/10
Author: Godsmack04 from United States
19 December 2006

This is one of the best films of this year. For a year that was fueled by controversy and crap, it was nice to finally see a film that had a true heart to it. From the opening scene to the end, I was so moved by the love that Will Smith has for his son. Basically, if you see this movie and walk out of it feeling nothing, there is something that is very wrong with you. Loved this movie, it's the perfect movie to end the year with. The best part was after the movie, my friends and I all got up and realized that this movie had actually made the four of us tear up! It's an amazing film and if Will Smith doesn't get at least an Oscar Nom, then the Oscars will just suck. In fact Will Smith should actually just win an Oscar for this role.!!! I loved this movie!!!! Everybody needs to see especially the people in this world that take everything for granted, watch this movie, it will change you!

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80 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

The Secret To Winning in Life - Best movie of the year !

10/10
Author: Friends19 from Netherlands
18 December 2006

The best drama movie of 2006, so sincere, real, intense, inspiring but at the same time challenging you to participate in the movie, you are being dragged into the movie, in the end it will not only bring happiness to your face and heart, but it will also make you a better person or at least highlight the great parts you have in your character. What feels most striking about this film is not its truth or accuracy, at least not in a technical sense. Rather, it's that the film does not seek blame or create unfounded obstacles for the character - particularly racial ones - instead enabling Chris' triumph as a personal one unencumbered by social or political context. Ultimately, this isn't the story of a black man learning how to succeed in a white world, or a poor person becoming rich, but the achievement of one man who looked past the litany of obstacles to which he could have easily surrendered. The fact that no one in the film looks down on him because of his sometimes unkempt appearance, much less the color of his skin, is a testament to the unfiltered purity of the real Gardner's story, and what makes the movie accessible to all audiences.

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