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Will Smith's heartfelt performance elevates The Pursuit of Happyness above mere melodrama.
All Critics (174)
| Top Critics (45)
| Fresh (117)
| Rotten (57)
| DVD (13)
That Will Smith is capable of this great performance should not be surprising.
An old-fashioned Hollywood heartwarmer.
Smith hits all the right notes - understated, engaging, inspirational - even if his young son threatens to charm him off the screen.
This is Smith as you've never seen him -- an unsure, struggling, frustrated guy trying to hold together his family and failing.
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.
A by-the-numbers piece of Hollywood inspiration.
Director Gabriele Muccino has so overloaded the story with glib anecdotes that it's often depressing and, worse, monotonous. Everything that is admirable, and there is much, is down to Smith's verve.
Save some of those Kleenex for The Pursuit of Happyness.
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.
Counterfeit emotion and submerged racism
Sap, sentiment, and hokey plot devices bog down an otherwise down to earth story.
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.
Will Smith is absolutely splendid in this inspirational real story of struggle and determination that holds an intense dramatic power without any need to become a cheap melodrama - which is something Hollywood has long grown used to, unfortunately.
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.
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.
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