Warning this post contains spoilers about the film The Pursuit of Happyness.
My wife, Kimberly, gets very stressed out during movies where characters are in positions were they lack security. So, needless to say, The Pursuit of Happyness was a nerve racking film for her.
Yet, during the film, I was bothered thematically with the message. For much of the film, it seemed to address various ideas about Thomas Jefferson's clause in the declaration that stated that we had the unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.
And in the film, Will Smith, playing the part of Chris Gardner, struggles with these concepts as he and his son deal with homelessness and poverty while Gardner struggles to get a job as a stock broker for Dean Witter Reynolds (now Morgan Stanley).
Yet, the film, to me ended up being just a depressing version of Legally Blonde. Despite the fact that the film deals with questions of whether true happiness is ever attainable, the final answer to the question is that if we work hard enough, we can pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and become rich, which surely must equate with happiness.
While the interaction between Smith and his real life son in the film, are the most touching moments of the film, it's hardly much different plot wise than Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoons) devotion to fashion and image while struggling to make it as a lawyer in Legally Blonde.
Hard work does pay off, and financial security is surely preferable to poverty, and achieving for the sake of family is beyond honorable, but what if Chris Gardner wasn't impressively smart? or what if he still hadn't made the cut with Dean Witter to get the job? And how is the loss of his wife reconcilable?
To me this film left me incredibly unsatisfied. I think I would appreciated if it had just told the story of Chris Garnder's life or that time period in Chris Garnder's life, without trying to attach his story to something bigger and grander, especially something as obtuse as happiness.
Related Tags: Chris Gardner, Will Smith, The Pursuit of Happyness, Legally Blonde, Film, Decleration of Independence, Happiness