Monday, May 28, 2007

movie review monday: the pursuit of happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness

The rousing, true-life story of a single dad who went from living on the streets to owning his own brokerage firm is brought to the big screen by superstar Will Smith, appearing for the first time opposite his real-life son Jaden Smith. Set in early-'80s San Francisco, the film charts the hard times and eventual comeback of Chris Gardner, a suddenly single salesman who has custody of his son, but finds that providing for the two of them is a challenge in the increasingly unstable economic climate. He struggles to work his way from unpaid intern at Dean Witter to something more substantial, even as life continues to offer him setbacks. Making his Hollywood debut, Italian director Gabriele Muccino was championed by Will Smith for the project. ~ Michael Hastings, All Movie Guide

This is one of those movies that I knew I would love when I saw the first preview. It came out around Christmas, which is my favorite movie season. That's when all the good artsy emotional movies come out. I love going to the movies in the summer too with all the blockbusters, but the controversial weird ones are always my favorites. Anyway though, Will Smith championed the project and he is an actor/famous person in general that I have come to have a lot of respect for. Somehow I missed the part where his real life son was the kid in the movie until I saw the movie last week. No, I have no idea how I didn't already know that.

I just wanted to cry during the whole movie. There was this family trying to make it and just having a rough time making all the ends meet. They invested money into some stuff that was possibly to sell but turned out to be nothing like what they thought it would be at the beginning. The mom is ultimately tired of it all and weary of her husband's desire to switch careers and leaves. It's awful and heartbreaking but at the same time, I kind of understood. I wouldn't ever be able to leave my husband and child but Thandie Newton did an excellent job showing internal turmoil and just how plain exhausted she was.

As the movie progresses, I found myself rooting for Chris and also impressed with the kind of father he was to his kid. And I really did have tears in my eyes at several points through the movie. So often it just doesn't seem fair when such awful circumstances befall people. Especially when they are working hard to come out of a poverty situation.

Will Smith was tremendous and I was impressed with the story. It didn't happen all that long ago (I remember going on BART around that time even) and I am especially interested in what the kid remembers of everything.

Basically, see the movie and have some Kleenex handy. I love Will Smith. He's made the list of if he's involved in a project, I'll be there to see it.

Rating: 4 of 4 stars

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