The Pursuit of Happyness


The Pursuit of Happyness

Written by 
Steven Conrad

Director Gabriele Muccino
Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

Category    Career      


Columbia Pictures



Language English
117 min

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Will Smith doesn't seem the likeliest candidate to play a desperate, struggling man. But in The Pursuit of Happyness, which is set in San Francisco in 1981, at the dawn of the age of go-go capitalism, Smith doesn't just wear a few flecks of gray in his hair. He plays the role of a man who awakens to the reality that life is nickel-and-diming him to death. It is a beautiful and understated performance, one that hums with a richer, quieter music than Smith has mustered before.

Based on a true story, Smith's Chris Gardner is an earnest fellow in his late 30s who sells medical equipment or rather, one particular item, a high-density bone scanner that he hawks, with middling success, on a freelance basis. His mistake was to invest his savings in these contraptions, and now he is stuck, toting them around town like oversize typewriters. On top of that, one of these does not work. As Gardner tries to figure out on how to fix the faulty one and sell the others, impatient Linda (Thandie Newton) takes off causing his marriage to fall apart, he loses his house, his bank account, and credit cards. Forced to live out in the streets with his son Christopher (played by Smith's son Jaden with a sly-eyed lack of fuss that matches nicely with his father's), Gardner is now desperate to find a steady job. He applies for the internship program at Dean Witter, where he will compete to be a stockbroker. Through hard work and setting goals with perseverance Chris is on his way to be coming a Wall Street legend.

Lessons between the scenes
Careers do not happen overnight. Growing up with a ‘label’ that we are only fit for one job many times has led to wrong talents in the wrong jobs. Will Smith in Pursuit to Happyness has proved that with ambition, hard work and determination, no matter what our economic situation is, we are able to pursue a career that we desire. It is passion and talent that make us ‘the right people for the right job’. Pursuing a career which we are interested in is always terrifying as employers usually judge us on what we have done and not on what we can do, therefore limiting opportunities. It is our responsibility as employers to allow such candidates such opportunities. Remember success is reached by getting up and trying again.

Contributed by: Olympia Fantis