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The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Entertainment galore, plus inspiration for families, for entrepreneurs and for social action
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.