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The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)



Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 171
Fresh: 114 | Rotten: 57

Will Smith's heartfelt performance elevates The Pursuit of Happyness above mere melodrama.


Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 44
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 14

Will Smith's heartfelt performance elevates The Pursuit of Happyness above mere melodrama.



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Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 560,635

My Rating

Movie Info

Chris Gardner is a bright and talented, but marginally employed salesman. Struggling to make ends meet, Gardner finds himself and his five-year-old son evicted from their San Francisco apartment with nowhere to go. When Gardner lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, he and his son endure many hardships, including living in shelters, in pursuit of his dream of a better life for the two of them.



Steve Conrad

Mar 27, 2007


Sony Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (172) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (114) | Rotten (57) | DVD (24)

Smith hits all the right notes - understated, engaging, inspirational - even if his young son threatens to charm him off the screen.

January 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This is Smith as you've never seen him -- an unsure, struggling, frustrated guy trying to hold together his family and failing.

December 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

As cynical as I am, I have to admit I was completely won over by Smith's sincere and deeply effective work as a guy who was knocked down again and again, but refused to stay on the canvas.

December 18, 2006
Ebert & Roeper
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A by-the-numbers piece of Hollywood inspiration.

December 17, 2006 Full Review Source: AV Club
AV Club
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Some people will see The Pursuit of Happyness as a glorification of capitalism, but the movie is much less about 'getting' than it is about 'not having.'

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Pursuit of Happyness can't imagine anything worse than being poor. Except maybe being surrounded by poor people.

December 15, 2006 Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Comments (10)
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Pursuit of Happyness is a very Hollywood film, which could be good or bad depending on your point of view. It tries very hard to be profound and inspirational, but ultimately it's not up to the task.

April 25, 2011 Full Review Source:

Counterfeit emotion and submerged racism

August 28, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion | Comments (11)

Sap, sentiment, and hokey plot devices bog down an otherwise down to earth story.

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Smith turns in a career-capping performance, and director Gabriele Muccino ingeniously turns the material inward, cautioning us all to be grateful for what we have, for we're closer to the edge than we think.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Boston Phoenix
Boston Phoenix

Will Smith is getting all the awards buzz, but it's his real-life son, Jaden, who transcends all expectations in Happyness.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

Even the glossiest of surfaces can't extinguish the genuine emotions running beneath them here.

April 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Projection Booth
Projection Booth

Few films so convincingly portray the titanic struggle that some people face day in and day out just to survive.

February 28, 2008 Full Review Source:

This is Will Smith's movie from start to finish and he carries it wonderfully.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Comments (2)
Big Picture Big Sound

[A] calculatedly emotional, sterilizingly cleancut drama.

June 23, 2007 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

Hokey title, but sometimes movie is good.

May 10, 2007 Full Review Source: Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

In an effort to make a crowd-pleasing film, the horrors that Gardner must have experienced on the streets feel glossed over by the Hollywood machine.

March 24, 2007 Full Review Source: UGO | Comments (2)

The American Dream as white, rich and all male.

March 21, 2007 Full Review Source: WBAI Web Radio | Comments (4)
WBAI Web Radio

Will Smith gives the performance of his career in a movie for which phrases like "heart-warming" and "life-affirming" were made.

February 19, 2007 Full Review Source: IGN Movies
IGN Movies

Sem jamais tratar o papel como uma simples oportunidade de mostrar seu alcance dramático, Will Smith comove justamente por demonstrar o esforço de seu personagem para se conter em momentos de grande emoção.

February 3, 2007
Cinema em Cena

The real story of Chris Gardner's life is indeed inspirational. The movie version wants to be inspirational as well, but never quite gets there.

February 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs | Comment (1)
Three Movie Buffs

You may come out rebuking yourself for your laziness or your choices or your fatalism or your fears, but you will come out glad you saw this movie.

January 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Cinerina

We may wonder if happiness can be bought this way, and whether the film being sold to us isn't a slightly suspect package, but Smith, sublime and moving, sells it regardless.

January 17, 2007 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Relentlessly grim but in a phony, Hollywood kinda way.

January 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Total Film | Comment (1)
Total Film

Bonding convincingly (as you might expect) with his own son on screen, Smith delivers his most compelling performance since Ali.

January 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4

Deserves kudos for avoiding saccharine sentiment, but its relentless emphasis on money as the cure for all ills is depressing. They might as well have called it The Pursuit of Richyness.

January 14, 2007 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

Audience Reviews for The Pursuit of Happyness

October 18, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Will Smith is absolutely splendid in this inspirational real story of struggle and determination that holds an intense dramatic power without need to become a cheap melodrama - which is something Hollywood has long grown used to, unfortunately.
February 21, 2013

Super Reviewer

A story that is inspirational, and moving, predictable, and moves a little too slowly is elevated considerably by the incredibly moving and touching performances of Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It could have been extremely melodramatic, but the great performances and comic moments keep it at great, emotional drama.
April 27, 2012
Raymond Wieser

Super Reviewer

A father with his back to the corner battles his way back to the center of the ring. Will Smith and his son, Jaden, are superlative is this confirmation of the American dream, and you root for them every step of the way. I began thinking that Will brought out the best in his son only to realise that Jaden brought out the best in Will, making this (in my humble opinion) Will's best.
April 11, 2012

Super Reviewer

    1. Christopher: You're a good papa.
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Chris Gardner: This part of my life, this part right here? This is called 'happiness'. Share this quote
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Christopher: Hey dad, you wanna hear something funny? There was a man who was drowning, and a boat came, and the man on the boat said "Do you need help?" and the man said "God will save me". Then another boat came and he tried to help him, but he said "God will save me", then he drowned and went to Heaven. Then the man told God, "God, why didn't you save me?" and God said "I sent you two boats, you dummy!"
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Chris Gardner: It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what. How did he know that?
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Chris Gardner: Hey. Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. Not even me. All right?
    2. Christopher: All right
    3. Chris Gardner: You got a dream. You gotta protect it. People can't do something themselves, they wanna tell you you can't do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
    1. Chris Gardner: I met my father for the first time when I was 28 years old. I made up my mind that when I had children, my children were going to know who their father was.
    – Submitted by Adam O (18 months ago)
View all quotes (14)

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