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The Pursuit of Happyness

  • Documentary and factual
  • Drama
  • 2006
  • Gabriele Muccino
  • 112 mins
  • 12A

Summary

Drama based on a true story, starring Will Smith and featuring Jaden Smith. After his wife walks out, downtrodden medical salesman Chris Gardner is left to bring up his five-year-old son alone. The situation worsens when the pair are made homeless, but Gardner refuses to be beaten. Gaining a prestigious though unpaid stockbroker internship, he doggedly chases his dream of a better life.

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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

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.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Chris GardnerWill Smith
ChristopherJaden Smith
LindaThandiwe Newton
Jay TwistleBrian Howe
Martin FrohmJames Karen
Alan FrakeshDan Castellaneta
Walter RibbonKurt Fuller
Mrs ChuTakayo Fischer
World's Greatest DadKevin West
Chinese maintenance workerGeorge Kee Cheung

Crew

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DirectorGabriele Muccino

Details

Theatrical distributor
Sony
Released on
2007-01-12
Languages
English
Guidance
Edited for language.
Available on
DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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