The Best Film About Survival to Come Around in a While
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The Best Film About Survival to Come Around in a While - "The Pursuit of Happyness"
By Dan Blankenship
© 2006 Dan Blankenship
As a big Will Smith fan, I was hoping for a great performance by the actor in “The Pursuit of Happyness”. In “Men in Black”, “Enemy of the State”, and “I, Robot” Smith delivered amazing performances. In “Ali”, “Bad Boys II”, and “Wild Wild West”, Smith not only delivered lackluster performances, but he chose scripts that really failed to deliver anything worth the price of admission. But this film, this absolute brilliant masterpiece of movie making creativity, deserves a whole lot of recognition!
“The Pursuit of Happyness” is one of the most “real-to-life” movies to come around in a while. The script is energetic, interesting, and smart; the acting is second to none; and the performance Will Smith turns in is without a doubt his best work to date.
This is the kind of movie that can inspire people to see past their struggles and look toward the light at the end of the tunnel. People who are going through financial, spiritual, and mental struggles need a film like “The Pursuit of Happyness” to remind them that lots of people have struggled, are struggling, and will struggle to be the best they can be in life.
Will Smith (playing the role of Chris Gardner) and his on screen wife, Linda (played by Thandie Newton), are exceptionally convincing as two parents trying to make things work when everything in their lives seems to be falling apart. Smith is stunningly realistic as a man just about to go over the deep end as life throws him as many punches as his Ali character actually took in the boxing ring. Some of the scenes where Smith and Newton are verbally jousting looked as if a physical confrontation was about to come to fruition, but it doesn’t.
Smith had to rely on every single emotion, physical characteristics of humans, and making another person’s story appear as his own to pull this film off. This is his crowning achievement as far as this critic is concerned. Much like Val Kilmer could make movies from now until the day he is unable to act and never be able to top his performance as Doc Holiday in the movie “Tombstone”, Will Smith may never be able to rise above his accomplishments in this performance.
Jaden Smith plays the part of Christopher (Chris Gardner’s son) and is just as convincing as his real life father throughout the entire film. The two work magic on the big screen. And as much as I don’t get into the whole put-a-cute-kid-in-a-movie-and-you-can’t-lose philosophy, Jaden Smith is a kid you just can’t help but enjoy seeing say predictable things in the movie. The kid doesn’t overact at all. That’s a big plus for a film like this, where it is based on a true story.
Brian Howe (playing the part of Jay Twistle) is great as the man who gives Gardner his first big shot at a more positive future. His fascination with the Rubik’s Cube while riding in a taxi, with Gardner begging him for a chance at becoming a stockbroker, is a scene I won’t soon forget. Two men in a taxi, trying to solve Rubik’s Cube, with one of the men trying to find a way to solve the puzzle of his own life, and one man not even realizing the desperation that was riding beside him in the taxi; now that’s irony. Isn’t that exactly what causes a lot of the pain we see in the world today – the lack of one group of humans to see the needs and thoughts of another group of humans?
Will Smith is a great actor, and he seems like a genuinely good person with a great future. He is not your typical Hollywood Big Head, with the all the superstar baggage we see with most of the Hollywood elite. The main character in this movie seems like the best example of what Smith’s real life integrity is like; and it’s a good statement! I wish Smith and his family all the best! Thanks for working so hard on this film.
If you are reading this review and trying to decide if “The Pursuit of Happiness” is a movie worth seeing, just ask yourself if you are interested in the story of human struggle. If the answer is yes, then I suggest you see this film.
There is an excellent scene in the film involving a worship service. It is obvious that the main character was moved by the service and the Gospel music that he encountered during the service. I think most people will realy enjoy the power that comes across in that part of the film.
See ya next review!
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I enjoyed this Dan, thank you. A movie to see. Love, Kathy Angell