The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness

Gabriele Muccino (2006)

12 Certificate
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Our Score
Will Smith reins in his customary exuberance to deliver a beautifully understated performance as real-life San Francisco father Chris Gardner, who, in the 1980s, battled against astonishing adversity to achieve his American Dream. When his wife Linda (Thandie Newton) leaves him, Gardner takes custody of their five-year-old child (played by Smith's delightful real-life son, Jaden) and then faces a catalogue of disasters as they become homeless and he tries to pursue a new career. Smith's restraint works wonderfully here and he makes every facial flicker count. Yet while Gardner's spirits surprisingly never droop despite his tribulations, the same cannot be said for those watching this noble rags-to-riches drama. The overall message may be a positive one, but it's agonising to watch such a decent man suffer, with Italian director Gabriele Muccino (The Last Kiss) seemingly determined to keep his English language debut as unsentimental as possible. Ultimately the film is expertly constructed with faultless central turns, but it would have benefited from being more uplifting.


A determined salesman takes custody of his five-year-old son when his wife leaves him, and secures an unpaid internship with a renowned stockbroking firm. However, the lack of a steady income begins to take its toll on the pair, leading to eviction from their home and a daily struggle to support themselves. Gabriele Muccino's fact-based drama, starring Will Smith alongside his son Jaden. With Thandie Newton, Brian Howe, James Karen, Dan Castellaneta and Kurt Fuller.

Cast & Crew

Chris Gardner Will Smith
Christopher Jaden Smith
Linda Thandie Newton
Jay Twistle Brian Howe
Martin Frohm James Karen
Alan Frakesh Dan Castellaneta
Walter Ribbon Kurt Fuller
Mrs Chu Takayo Fischer
Director Gabriele Muccino
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: SonyGuidance: Edited for language.Available on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 12 Jan 2007