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Posted on 1/22/07 11:16 PM
The Pursuit of Happyness is the only film of 2006 that can be called both the feel good and feel bad film of the year. By that, I mean that the film eventually becomes the most feel good movie of 2006, but the lead character Christopher Gardener (Will Smith) goes through hell first, and thus the audience does too. Christopher is a good father and husband, but unfortunately he's made some bad decisions financially. When things get rough, his wife Linda (Thandie Newton) leaves him. Christopher keeps his young son Chris (Jayden Christopher Syre Smith) and tries to get a job at a stockbroker internship. Through the rough patch that follows, Christopher and young Chris stay together and Christopher never stops being a loving caring father. Will Smith has never given a more fully realized or nuanced performance. This is the most accurate and authentic portrayal of a single father I've ever seen. Smith has evolved into a fantastic actor to watch. Each and every little choice he makes for the character are the right ones, and I guarantee you he will have you in tears. And give a shout out to Jayden Smith (Will Smith's real-life son) who makes young Chris an intelligent and insightful young boy, but one who is still just a kid. He plays the part just right. This film really moved me, and the performances were the main reason why. The script is a tight one, but it lingers a little too much in the middle. The cinematography is well done, and the direction by French director Gabriele Muccino gives the film heart without making it sappy. My only major complaint is the unnecessary voice overs for each "Chapter", but other than that it's a very fine film that is worth seeing for Smith alone.