There are movies that go so deep into the human condition that the lines between good and bad blur to the point where everything seems the same, right or wrong become a commodity for non struggling bystanders, not accustomed to the suffering of those who’re struggling to build their path in a world that is not caring but cold and hard. “The Pursuit of Happyness” is kinda like that, not exactly crude like an Iñarratu or Cuaron movie in its portrait of reality, but compensating that lack of flesh and bone exposed with a complex series of complications and a protagonist who knows he can’t give up not for even a second if he wants to accomplish his goal, and this makes for an outstanding movie about overcoming impossible situations to achieve that thing the title reveals… Happiness.
So, what’s the movie about? IT’s about this man, right? Chris Gardner , the protagonist! okay, so he’s a man who struggles because of a bad investment. He spends all of his saving in a bunch of machines no one seems to want to buy. They’re some medical machines that are not really necesary, so he has this huge problem of not being able to sell them. At the same time, his wife has been pulling double shifts to keep the family on float and this has taken it’s toll on her, she doesn’t want to even see her husband because of all the stress and anger. In the middle of all this is Christopher, Chris’s son, who attends an awful daycare center because both parents have to work all day. In a really smart inciting incident, Chris makes the decision to apply to an internship in a stockbrokers training program, meeting both the opportunity of a lifetime and loosing her wife, who doesn’t believe in him anymore and wants to escape to a better life. Chris decision is to protect his son, demanding his wife to leave him with him and go away. From this point forward, Chris alone has to cope with an internship that doesn’t pay any money, studying while finding ways to make some money to keep living, and man… the things he has to do are proof of the endurance of the human life, his grip and intelligence, his focus and strength are an spectacle in itself, by far the most amazing thing the movie has to offer.
I guess all of this tells us that in order to achieve greatness, one must have it in them first, being smart, being focused, being brave and relentless, but also that one must find that way in which all of these elements can push you to accomplish greatness, crazy reflection here… it’s all in oneself to do it, or as Chris tells to his son… “Don’t let anyone say you can’t do something, you want to do something… you do it”.
Before ending this review I want to stop for a minute to talk about the script, is often said that in the best stories you can’t easily point out the beat you’re currently watching. Movies like “The Pursuit of Happyness” have this, they’re so well crafted that they seem like a constant stream of events, not determined or structured by story beats or clearly followed structures, I feel to write like this one has to be a master of structures and plot points so good at it that one can simply forget about them and just write, cause the sense of them is already in the craft, you just have to trust it.