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"The Pursuit of Happyness" Movie Review

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating
User Rating 4 Star Rating (3 Reviews)


Will Smith stars in The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith and Jaden Christopher Syre Smith in "The Pursuit of Happyness."

© Columbia Pictures

The Bottom Line

Will Smith has banked a lot of goodwill with moviegoers and he's going to need to cash some in with his starring role in the depressing drama, The Pursuit of Happyness. Pursuit is a movie designed to have you reaching for your tissues, but unfortunately it's so overwrought, heavy-handed and into bashing the audience over the head with its message that the emotional impact is dramatically lessened as each minute of the running time slowly ticks by.


  • Will Smith does well in a more dramatic role than his usual fare
  • Chris Gardner's story definitely deserved to be made into a film


  • Unfortunately this isn't the film Gardner's story deserved
  • Jaden Smith's a fine little actor but this bit of casting is really distracting


  • Starring Will Smith, Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, and Thandie Newton
  • Jaden Smith makes his feature film acting debut alongside his dad in the film
  • The real Chris Gardner does a cameo at the very end of the movie
  • Rated PG-13 for some language
  • Theatrical Release Date: December 15, 2006

Guide Review - "The Pursuit of Happyness" Movie Review

The Story

Based on true events, The Pursuit of Happyness (the incorrect spelling is explained in the film) follows Chris Gardner (Smith) as he struggles to achieve the American dream. Chris has everything going against him. His wife (Thandie Newton) left him and he's raising his 5-year-old son alone, without any real income. Determined to provide for his son Christopher (Jaden Smith) no matter what, Chris enters an unpaid internship program at a brokerage firm in hopes of landing the one paid position available at the end of the training program.

Sleeping in bathrooms, homeless shelters, and shabby hotels when he's got the money to afford a room, Chris never gives up on the idea he can land a job and provide his son with a better life. Will Chris be able to grab the brass ring? Will his son be raised in an environment of love? If you watched the 20/20 special on the real Gardner, you know exactly how this story turns out.

To Sum It Up

If Jaden Christopher Syre Smith didn't turn in such a terrific performance, the cries of nepotism might overwhelm anything else to do with the release of The Pursuit of Happyness. However the younger Smith inherited talent from his parents and so he actually deserved the big break. That said, there are too many scenes in The Pursuit of Happyness that feel as though they're included in the film just to show off the close relationship between dad and son. Anyone arguing the need for an overabundance of scenes between the two because The Pursuit of Happyness is based on real events is assuming the story faithfully follows reality. It doesn't. Chris Gardner's real son was only two at the time of the events portrayed in the film.

If patience isn't a virtue you possess, pass on Pursuit of Happyness. The film takes forever to get going yet once it's underway, it doesn't seem to ever want to stop.


User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
, Member pursueofhappyness

The Pursuit of Happyness. It is a way more then just a movie. It is a American dream of a real life person, with a inspirational life story. It brings out the so called baby in people. Will Smith is does the best acting of his career so far. He also made it more believable acting with his own real son. Everyone thinks as Mr. Will Smith as an actor in like action movies flying or shooting someone. And as for little Jaden Christopher Syre Smith, this was his very first acting carer and does a faboulous job considering he is only about 5 years old and is in a dramatic movie. In my case i cried when i saw one of the trailors so when i saw the whole thing it was pretty bad. but i would soo recomend this movie for people even guys. Every so called tough guy would most likely cry when they see this movie. It is a really really really good movie!

39 out of 52 people found this helpful.

See all 3 reviews

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