The Pursuit of Happyness
The film produced in 2008 entitled, The Pursuit of Happyness directed by Gabriele Muccino stars renowned actor Will Smith alongside his young son Jaden Smith. It offers audiences with the grim situation facing African American people in America in the early 1980’s. Will Smith plays the character of Chris Gardner who the film aims at presenting the real life events experienced by an individual by the same name (Ruo-jun 905). Set in the 1980’s San Francisco, Gardner in his late 30’s suffers financial challenges that result in homelessness, a broken marriage and the sole responsibility of caring for a young son. However, he comes out as a person who through hope, humor, hard work, persistence, love, happiness and above all, innate determination which all work in tandem to overcome adversity towards attaining the fabled American Dream. “You got a dream, you got to protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you that you can’t do it. You want something? Go get it”. (Muccino 55:16-55:44). Gardner works to inculcate in his son that it is the inherent drive towards achieving against the odds that matters. This paper seeks to discuss determination as the fore bearing theme.
The film’s title suggests evidence of a success story, where one eventually manages to actualize self by working hard. As it begins, Gardner is a conventional salesman experiencing unfavorable life events that depress his financial position so badly that he ends up homeless (Muccino 5.07). In most instances, when people reach such a point, depression kicks in as social interactions are limited to people with similar problems with no one to offer assistance to overcome them. However, through sheer determination to turn around these adverse possibilities and more so, towards securing a better tomorrow for his innocent child, Gardner makes an application to enter a trainee program with a local brokerage firm (Rushton 191). As much as he is the only African American applicant, his unique sense of determination propels him to trudge own through the internship program with no pay. Eventually, he attains the job and thereafter earns a healthy income.
Human beings are motivated to attain the highest point of desired objectives from life despite arising hindrances and obstacles. Similarly, every living person wishes to be happy. The term happy is, however, subjective given that each individual derives such an emotion from different sources. But for a man with a steadfast moral compass as Gardner, being happy stems from seeing his son, Christopher being happy (Ruo-jun 906). In the culturally diverse city, it could have been overly easy for Gardner to resign himself to fate as being born and raised up in the lower strata of the society but does not. The American flag is employed a lot in the film as being synonymous to freedom. He is able to find independence in thought that he is not influenced by the situations around him. The diversity witnessed in San Francisco is immense not only in terms of race and class but also with regard to age. For instance, there is a scene in the film where youthful and joyous people in sports car drive along a queue of homeless persons at the Glide Memorial Church (Muccino 11.08). Where some find great success, others seem to experience real nightmare to a similar degree. Despite this fact, Gardner strives to attain success within his own moral compass. In the film, the country’s president Ronald Reagan voices concern as to the unfavorable economic challenges facing the economy but encourages the population to work hard towards transforming it for the better (Muccino 8.07).
Gardner being a positive minded individual takes heed of the president’s address, understanding that he has to pursue happiness though initiative and hard work. He fully embraces the opportunity when it emerges upon meeting the successful stockbroker with a shiny luxurious car at a parking lot. “Man, I got two questions for you: What do you do? And how do you do it? (Muccino 30.23-31.08).” It is with courage and determination that Gardner elicits a favorable response to his queries, presenting headway into his pursuit of happiness. “I’m a stockbroker; Stockbroker. Oh goodness (Muccino 31.09-31.43). ”
Armed with this information, Gardner is now seen always in a hurry never taking it slow towards his pursuit of happiness (Ruo-jun 905). An interesting point to note is the manner with which everyone surrounding Gardner’s brief conversation with the stockbroker is that all were all adorning pleasant smiles. This all encompassing aura of happiness, success and belief towards a better tomorrow is achievable through Gardner’s true determination.
In conclusion, this film is testament of the unique personalities that have over the years made America great. People who defied social dogma to break off from mental insubordination to declare independence with regard to own lives. Muccino’s work sums up the American dream as a resultant outcome of personal determination that strongly motivates for hard work eventually bringing about success. In American society, there are numerous instances where people have continuously replayed The Pursuit of Happyness in own life experiences albeit along different paths.
Ruo-jun, B. A. O. “On Chris’s Unyielding Spirits Against Fate in The Pursuit of Happyness.” Journal of Literature and Art Studies 6.8 (2016): 905-910.
Rushton, Richard. “Equality and Democracy: It Should Happen to You.” The Politics of Hollywood Cinema. Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2013. 186-211.