Columbia Pictures | Release Date: December 15, 2006
7.0
USER SCORE
Generally favorable reviews based on 293 Ratings
USER RATING DISTRIBUTION
Positive:
210
Mixed:
31
Negative:
52
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5
MarkB.Feb 7, 2007
Horatio Alger meets The Bicycle Thief. Look, I'm as thrilled as anybody that Chris Gardner, the real-life figure on whom this movie is based, beat insurmountable odds to become a big-time stockbroker, caring for and feeding his little Horatio Alger meets The Bicycle Thief. Look, I'm as thrilled as anybody that Chris Gardner, the real-life figure on whom this movie is based, beat insurmountable odds to become a big-time stockbroker, caring for and feeding his little son (and sending him to what is apparently the world's crappiest day care center) while doing it. And I have no problem whatsoever with the critical acclaim and Oscar nomination that Will Smith has received for his heartfelt performance, although I can't help but wonder if Smith would've been as effective in maintaining such convincing screen rapport with child actor Jaden Smith if the latter weren't Will's own offspring. But this movie is so relentless in its apparent aim to make the audience feel as miserable (oh, excuse me, miserYble) as possible most of the way that the childish knock-knock joke that concludes the film, while not being all that funny in and of itself, got as big a reaction from my theater audience as the "bean scene" from Blazing Saddles normally would've...simply because it represents a change of pace, never mind how tiny, from two hours of punishment. I'm often a real sucker for good inspirational movies: I loved Akeelah and the Bee, The World's Fastest Indian, The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, Gridiron Gang and the current examples Rocky Balboa and Freedom Writers, but all of those featured abundant moments of humor or joy to counterbalance the required scenes of hard knocks and heartbreak; conversely, I couldn't have wanted to exit The Pursuit of Happyness quicker if the theater had caught on fire! As the old blues song might say, if Gardner as depicted here didn't have bad luck he'd have no luck at all; he can't give away the bulky, outmoded medical devices he starves himself trying to sell to doctors, but that doesn't stop them from being frequently stolen; when given a crucial phone number to call for a job interview, he not only can't find something to write it down with, but people keep shouting other numbers at him while he's desperately trying to commit it to memory! After a while, this accumulation of obstacles reaches such a ridiculous, almost Pythonesque, red alert level that I actually found myself derisively laughing at it; callous as this may seem, my conscience is clear because the filmmakers seem to be fudging several crucial facts in order to artificially intensify the pathos. Apparently the real Gardner's son was an infant (not a preschooler) at the time, and apparently the Dean Witter brokerage firm didn't make Gardner and his 19 competitors do intern work for them for nothing, but paid them a small pittance...so if screenwriter Steve Conrad and director Gabriele Muccino are this willing to play fast and loose with the facts, then why should I automatically buy into their portrayal of Gardner's estranged wife as the biggest harpy on earth? I smell more than a whiff of Cinderella Man's fraudulent portrayal of the infinitely more complex than depicted boxing champ Max Baer as a one-dimensional sadist here; Conrad and Muccino are such enemies of fairmindedness and nuance here that they even make Thandie Newton (a very good actress) LOOK as unattractive as possible, even when she's down to bra and panties! But the worst aspect of The Pursuit of Happyness may well be the aftereffect that occurs down the road, as some of the same American corporations that a few years ago rocketed Spencer Johnson's book Who Moved My Cheese? to Number One on the bestseller lists by buying crates of it in order to convince their employees that being downsized is the best darn thing that could possibly happen to them begin doing the same with this movie on DVD, in essence to tell the rank and file, "Look, so what if the CEO's giving himself another raise and you a pay cut? Be glad we pay you to come to work at all !" If that's indeed what happens (and I don't doubt that it will), then The Pursuit of Happyness will make the long leap from simply being a bad movie to becoming an instrument of evil. Expand
1 of 1 users found this helpful
10
JondoeMar 2, 2009
great movie. anyone who disagrees is a blind fool. it shows how real men take care of their kids. also a great movie on learning how to be a father and getting to know your kid. i don't even want to get into the motivational and other great movie. anyone who disagrees is a blind fool. it shows how real men take care of their kids. also a great movie on learning how to be a father and getting to know your kid. i don't even want to get into the motivational and other aspects of the movie. great acting jobs all around. Expand
3 of 5 users found this helpful
3
BillyS.Jan 2, 2007
It's obvious from the beginning that the man on whom The Pursuit of Happyness is based was the subject of an episode of Oprah because the film plays out as if it were Letterman reads Oprah Transcripts! An hour and a half of suffering, It's obvious from the beginning that the man on whom The Pursuit of Happyness is based was the subject of an episode of Oprah because the film plays out as if it were Letterman reads Oprah Transcripts! An hour and a half of suffering, desertion, rejection, suffering, humiliation, suffering, evictions, incarceration, suffering and the final fifteen minutes of finding ones inner-spirit, perseverance and redemption. Will Smith is the suffering hero in a role that seems to be written solely to get him an Oscar nod as a likeable, self confident man with a young son but not a single friend or relative willing to put him up for a night! Give me a break. With a foreign director and Oprah's endorsement to give it weight, it probably will get Mr. Smith his Oscar nomination, which means it's too late for Matt Damon or Ryan Gosling to get that kind of recognition they both truly deserve. Next year, go on Oprah!! Expand
2 of 4 users found this helpful
2
BobH.Dec 21, 2006
I love Will Smith and you will love his real life son as that is the only worthwhile part of watching the movie. As for the rest, the script is totally lame, and the acting laughable. This is one very depressing movie but is so egregious in I love Will Smith and you will love his real life son as that is the only worthwhile part of watching the movie. As for the rest, the script is totally lame, and the acting laughable. This is one very depressing movie but is so egregious in that nothing makes common sense that it loses its audience long before the conclusion. Will Smith portrays Rocky Balboa in the white shirt world. How much more can be dumped on this man? Avoid. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful
1
IssacDec 20, 2006
Too depressing for words and totally unrealistic. Will's real life son is a natural born ham as he steals the show.
1 of 2 users found this helpful
2
SeanH.Mar 1, 2007
Obviously a film called "The Pursuit of Happyness" is going to be provocative, especially as we see so little of the man's inner journey, and so much of his running around with a x ray machine chasing a buck. Good luck to the guy.. he Obviously a film called "The Pursuit of Happyness" is going to be provocative, especially as we see so little of the man's inner journey, and so much of his running around with a x ray machine chasing a buck. Good luck to the guy.. he had to put food on the table and provide for his son under difficult circumstances. But what happened to him when he got rich? Who is this man and why should we care as long as we dont get to find out anything about him other than the fact that he is a real tryer. Is it too much to ask? I mean, i don't want to accuse the film of being shallow or anything. You don't have to get into politics or ideological whatnot to wonder what on earth was the point of the movie. Or maybe you do. For a second i thought the film itself was actually mocking him when his son told him that joke...knock knock.. who's there?.. nobody.. nobody who?.. (silence). When his wife walks out on him, all he has to say is "YOU ARE SO WEAK!". And off she goes. So does he think he is "strong" and if so, how does it make him feel to have to go through all this pride swallowing, dignity sapping stuff day after day? Who the hell is this guy and does he have anything to say? How did he run his company after all this? Was he a good boss and a good man to work for? etc etc Will there be a part 2 or will we never get the chance to find out. Alas, this film goes no further. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful
2
JohnB.Apr 2, 2007
I thought I was watching "Chariots of Fire" with all the running. This movie reaks of propaganda. Pursuing happyness comes from within, not from getting a job as a stock broker which the movie never touched on. Did anyone notice that the I thought I was watching "Chariots of Fire" with all the running. This movie reaks of propaganda. Pursuing happyness comes from within, not from getting a job as a stock broker which the movie never touched on. Did anyone notice that the "lower class" kept stealing his machines but the "upper class" corporate world gave him so called, happyness. Talk about boot licking. It was a depressing movie full of subliminal messages of how the corporations give us the happYness we seek. Y is the male cromosome for a male dominated world. Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful
0
HassanDec 16, 2006
Just the same boring scene repeated over and over. We all know how it's going to end so why not explain the characters? Where are the friends and family. How do coworkers not understand the gravity of the situation and offer to help? Just the same boring scene repeated over and over. We all know how it's going to end so why not explain the characters? Where are the friends and family. How do coworkers not understand the gravity of the situation and offer to help? Who would invest money in a trainee without knowing the relationship will grow? The entire movie is preposterous from beginning to end. Awful! Expand
1 of 2 users found this helpful
3
DeannaFeb 25, 2007
I thought this movie was just a real downer. It kept dragging on and on, and from the moment it started you knew how it was going to end. I liked the ending the best not because of the happyness, but because I could finaly leave.
1 of 3 users found this helpful
2
CaitSep 16, 2007
Will Smith spends the majority of this film running around in a suit and thanking people earnestly. Very disappointing and way too cheesy. Cringeful in fact. That's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back. An awful film.
1 of 3 users found this helpful
0
HolidayJan 2, 2007
Please spare me this story had more holes than swiss cheese. Are we to believe that he sacrificed his wife, endangered his child and took a job without any compensation with his chance of success being less than 1%? If you believe that I Please spare me this story had more holes than swiss cheese. Are we to believe that he sacrificed his wife, endangered his child and took a job without any compensation with his chance of success being less than 1%? If you believe that I have a bridge I would like to sell you. And his employer is portrayed as insensitive biggots. And do you think that a major financial institution would let a trainee/cold caller go see a very successful pension fund manager alone? Do you think that pension fund manager would even consider meeting with a trainee? Try using your brain instead of the garbage that Hollywood shoves down your throat. This is an awful film in which white is rich and happy and black is poor and downtrodden. And where were his friends and family to offer support financial or otherwise. This film was offensive. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
LaughingStockDec 19, 2006
Purusit of the almighty buck might be more like it. This is a poor movie with cliches at every corner. The character Will Smith had spunk but lacked brains or common sense. When you disect the glitter all that remains is a very poor script Purusit of the almighty buck might be more like it. This is a poor movie with cliches at every corner. The character Will Smith had spunk but lacked brains or common sense. When you disect the glitter all that remains is a very poor script that is depressing and lacks reality or humanity. Avoid. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
1
DarrylD.Dec 20, 2006
He starts smiling when he gets the job. Doesn't he know his life just ended? Will's subliminal message is "get white". This movie is shamed by "My brother's keeper", about ten years ago, where the real currency is between He starts smiling when he gets the job. Doesn't he know his life just ended? Will's subliminal message is "get white". This movie is shamed by "My brother's keeper", about ten years ago, where the real currency is between family who love each other and forego materialism. The information about how he sold his share of a business for a million dollars make me sick to my stomach. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
5
JudyT.Apr 2, 2007
I didn't get it. I couldn't sympathize with a man who would keep his son with him while homeless. It seemed a bit selfish. Also being a slave just to get a job at Dean Witter doesn't say much about Dean Witter or stock brokers I didn't get it. I couldn't sympathize with a man who would keep his son with him while homeless. It seemed a bit selfish. Also being a slave just to get a job at Dean Witter doesn't say much about Dean Witter or stock brokers (high priced salesmen). Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
AaronDec 15, 2006
predictable story about how much garbage you can eat without complaining. The ending was sadly lacking and there were no character development to explain the lack of family and friends. To be a successful stock broker you have to have onepredictable story about how much garbage you can eat without complaining. The ending was sadly lacking and there were no character development to explain the lack of family and friends. To be a successful stock broker you have to have one part used car salesmen and two parts attorney in you. Will Smith had neither. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
ChuckU.BastardJan 31, 2007
I don't even need to see this dreck to know that is another piece of Puritan work-ethic, unchecked capitalistic, bootstrap crap. How come nobody ever heard of this "real" person until the movie was released? Probably because he was I don't even need to see this dreck to know that is another piece of Puritan work-ethic, unchecked capitalistic, bootstrap crap. How come nobody ever heard of this "real" person until the movie was released? Probably because he was fabricated for the movie's publicity. In other words, he never truly existed and still does not truly exist! It's just like that awful mess, "Erin Brockovich." I mean, who ever heard of this broad before the movie? But, ta-da, when the movie is out, we all hear and see the "real" Brockovich, bosoms and all, on the news shows. The suit was most likely filed by the head of a multi-million law firm, and the secretary he was having an affair with got the credit and money to shut her up. That is the least astonishing conclusion. So I won't get sued for libel, this is my opinion, not proven fact. Unfortunately, I saw "Crock-O-Bitch"; I will not make the same mistake with "Pursuit of Crappyness." Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
helenm.Dec 21, 2006
All down, down, down, down -- goes on too long with such agony. Not sure the when the man got the job that he actually won. Too depressing.
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
MichaelF.Dec 17, 2007
This was possibly the worst film I've seen. The entire movie is a montage of Will Smith running from place to place and snapping at people. We never get to see how he succeeds in his internship or the ways in which he works harder than This was possibly the worst film I've seen. The entire movie is a montage of Will Smith running from place to place and snapping at people. We never get to see how he succeeds in his internship or the ways in which he works harder than the others around him. Every remotely compelling part of this film is shown in the previews. People seem to have made up their minds about loving this movie before taking the time to actually watch it. Long, boring and tortuous. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
10
SteveDec 22, 2006
I'm surprised with the negative comments. This was a fantastic movie, dare I say the best movie I've seen all year. Seldom do movies capture the essence of the importance of life with such heart. I loved everything about it and I'm surprised with the negative comments. This was a fantastic movie, dare I say the best movie I've seen all year. Seldom do movies capture the essence of the importance of life with such heart. I loved everything about it and highly recommend it. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful
0
finnigan37Feb 22, 2013
This piece of junk edged out Babel as the worst film I saw in 2006, and stands firm as maybe the worst film I have ever seen. Definitely top five. The entire over-long endeavor essentially presents scene after scene of Will Smith running,This piece of junk edged out Babel as the worst film I saw in 2006, and stands firm as maybe the worst film I have ever seen. Definitely top five. The entire over-long endeavor essentially presents scene after scene of Will Smith running, being a jerk to people, running some more, riding busses, disobeying pedestrian traffic laws, sitting down, laying down, running, etc., etc. If you like this film you just have horrible taste. I can reach no other conclusion. Expand
0 of 1 users found this helpful01
All this user's reviews
7
BcApr 6, 2007
Much better than average. I liked the determination, motivation, and committment Gardner shows. Yup, it was predictable, and also a little bit too long, but that doesn't take away from the story. It's great to see a movie that Much better than average. I liked the determination, motivation, and committment Gardner shows. Yup, it was predictable, and also a little bit too long, but that doesn't take away from the story. It's great to see a movie that isn't full of sex, violence and profanity. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
StevenS.Jan 5, 2007
The acting in this film outshines the film itself. Which means a lot considering this was a good film. It nearly rises to the level of great but falls short. Will Smith gives a performance that will surely get recgonized by Academy voters. The acting in this film outshines the film itself. Which means a lot considering this was a good film. It nearly rises to the level of great but falls short. Will Smith gives a performance that will surely get recgonized by Academy voters. The only thing that dragged this film down were its lighter moments in which everything seems normal. Will Smith's son gives a standout debut as well. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
AllyF.Feb 8, 2008
It's a great movie It inspire me.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
MichaelMJan 1, 2007
Likeable characters and good acting, but would've been more inspirational if Smith had been working toward becoming a teacher, social worker, or other do-gooder. The message seems to be, work hard and you, too, can become rich helping Likeable characters and good acting, but would've been more inspirational if Smith had been working toward becoming a teacher, social worker, or other do-gooder. The message seems to be, work hard and you, too, can become rich helping other rich people avoid paying their taxes. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
9
DavidL.Jan 2, 2007
It was a good film with a fine performance by Will Smith. How ironic that the story about the grueling experiences of a down on his luck loser could also be one of the most inspiring films in quite some time. Here is hoping that Will Smith It was a good film with a fine performance by Will Smith. How ironic that the story about the grueling experiences of a down on his luck loser could also be one of the most inspiring films in quite some time. Here is hoping that Will Smith gets an Oscar nod for his understated performance. Expand
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
YolandaP.Jan 4, 2007
This is what the world of father's need to see, this is one of the main problems going on in America. Men not stepping up to the plate and being the father that children need. This is a true example of a father.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
5
DonW.Jan 7, 2007
The movie really dragged and we saw nothing that happened after he finally became a stockbroker. I thought the acting was below par also. Drama is not Will Smith's strong suit. Needs action movies.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
4
BillC.Jan 7, 2007
Long and not very engaging, it certainly did not live up to the pre-release hype. I never felt pulled into the story, Will Smith was not nearly as compelling as I had hoped.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
10
JackG.Feb 4, 2007
This movie is a perfect example of how anybody can get back on their feet. I loved it.
0 of 0 users found this helpful
8
BitBurnFeb 8, 2007
Good stuff. I enjoyed this movie a lot. Congrats Will Smith! Although the ending was a bit disappointing.
0 of 0 users found this helpful