Friday, January 12, 2007

Movie Review: "The Pursuit of Happyness"

That ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ is a story of survival against the odds is an understatement. From the off the central family are struggling financially and emotionally to stay afloat before the characters lives descend further into destitution and debt. Even the outcome of any resolution is not shown on screen. Comparable to ‘Cinderella Man’, in that it tells the story of a man desperately trying to survive and provide, there is an extra facet to our protagonist Chris Gardner (Will Smith) in that he has never brought his potential to bear. He has never entered ‘the boxing ring’ and in attempting to do so now any stability around him crumbles and he strives to maintain the trust of his son. At every turning point or turn up in fortune a further obstacle appears. Smith, a revelation, free from the need to impersonate a well know character or fill out a cardboard action star convinces as a man with limitless resilience. Even though the story has a message often churned through film, the determination of Gardner and Smith’s portrayal of this cannot but inspire and earn the audiences respect even when watching the doldrums of life he has his son experience. As with true to life movies such as ‘Walk the Line’, the story is linear and can at times seem episodic and indeed is shot with no particularly unique style. However the performances of the central pair (real life father and son), our instinctive desire to achieve our goals and a great story of redemption ultimately deliver a really enjoyable movie.

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