PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS (2006) (A Movie Review)
As an original screenplay this movie would have needed a great deal of work to comply with the usual leftwing prejudices necessary for production. As a true story I’m assuming that the real Chris Gardner didn’t allow any of that. How else do you explain a struggling single father trying to get ahead without any help from government institutions? The businessmen in the film that give him an opportunity are all portrayed as generous and decent people despite Gardner’s lack of formal education and color.
There closest things to a villain in the movie is his wife that doesn’t believe in him. Making his challenge tougher is his insistence in raising his son as a single parent rather than have him grow up without a father. Despite everything against him and only his own wits and will, he realizes his dream.
A couple of other things that go against the liberal orthodoxy are the hippy girl that steals from him and an obviously mentally deranged homeless guy that society allows to walk the streets. He himself is not forced to the streets because of evil capitalism, but the IRS that empties his bank account, ostensibly to make the country “more fair.” Even then it’s not the government to the rescue, but a church mission that gives him shelter.
The movie is an inspiration that gives a person hope that the pursuit of happiness is worthwhile and attainable. In America these stories are not unusual, but they rarely get told because the establishment is more invested in the people that are left behind.
Politically it shows that conservative movies are remotely possible in mainstream Hollywood if the story is great and a powerful star is willing to appear, assuming still that no identified Republican is singled out for praise. It also helped that the foreign born director, Gabriele Muccino, making his Hollywood debut was probably not up on the current Hollywood bugaboos.
Will Smith is winning in the main role so you care about him and how it unfolds. The son of Will Smith proves to be solid too. Nothing about the movie stands out as exceptional save the fact that it isn't disappointing which these days is more and more rare.