Sunday, August 12, 2012

Will Smith’s Critically Acclaimed Performance in "The Pursuit of Happyness"

There are a few African-American actors that can light up the movie screens like Christmas with their charisma, and Will Smith is one of those few. In fact he was nominated for Best Actor by both the Golden Globe and Academy Awards. Smith is a celebrated actor in Hollywood with a long acting as well as singing career. He was among the artists that sang in the Iraqi war anthem “Voices That Care” and his asking price per movie role is at least $20 million, but he’s worth it because he is a quality actor also.

In this film he played Chris Gardner, a San Francisco resident who has many talents but is in a bad luck streak lately and is always in between jobs or unemployed. He teams up with his real life son Jaden Smith (Christopher) who also played the same role in the movie and Thandie Newton (Linda) who played as his dissatisfied wife that later on left them for another man. While looking for work he invested his family savings on his own invention called a portable bone-density scanner and being the salesman that he was tries to negotiate a purchase from medical doctors. While some of his machine got sold others were just collecting dust and waiting for another customer to make a purchase, which is a huge question mark in the life of Gardner. He finally caught a break when he impressed Jay Twistle (Brian Howe) by solving a Rubik’s Cube in less than 2 minutes inside a taxi cab. 

Twistle happens to be one of the managers in Dean Witter, which is a stock market firm in San Francisco; and as if by a miracle Twistle offered Chris the opportunity to become an intern stock broker at their firm. To cut the story short he did get the job and soon became the boss of his own brokerage firm, but before he got there he has had to face enormous hurdles and circumstances in his life and along with it the burden of taking care of his beloved son. He’s been to jail, walked in a major job interview with worn out clothes and evicted from his apartment but he never gave up hope. In one of the scenes Chris is shown as wondering about Thomas Jefferson’s line on the Declaration of Independence, particularly on the part where it says “the pursuit of happiness” and contemplated why he never could get happiness but only pursue it. It was a thought-provoking and moving story that richly deserved the praises from the critics.

The film grossed to more than 6 times the cost to make it and this proves that a story can be told without any special effects and still appeal to the general audience as something that is worth seeing. We rarely see movies like this today hopefully more movie studios will take a risk in doing something like this. I’ll give this film a 9/10 score in reputation as it is obvious that the movie was great.

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