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Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics What's this?

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6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 255 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Chris Gardner (Smith) 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 brokerageChris Gardner (Smith) 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. (Sony) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 100
    The tough beauty of the picture is that it lets each viewer weigh the costs and benefits to Gardner. It's a genuinely transporting inspirational movie because it's also a cautionary tale. It doesn't downplay the hero's occasional clumsiness or pigheadedness.
  2. It's a beautiful and understated performance, one that hums with a richer, quieter music than Smith has mustered before.
  3. While the film is roughly half grit and half sugar, it works because Smith sticks to a tougher, more rewarding recipe of 99.9 percent grit and only .1 percent sugar.
  4. It's the same old bootstraps story, an American dream artfully told, skillfully sold. To that calculated end, the filmmaking is seamless, unadorned, transparent, the better to serve Mr. Smith's warm expressiveness.
  5. This is a slick studio production with a huge movie star and top professionals occupying every production role so that the polish of this well-made film makes even homelessness look neat and tidy.
  6. 60
    An admirably unsentimental biopic with an excellent central performance, but it doesn't impact as strongly as it could.
  7. 40
    Especially to anyone with kids, the film packs some punch. Apart from that, The Pursuit of Happyness is emotionally manipulative and way too glossy to really hit home.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 60 out of 90
  2. Negative: 23 out of 90
  1. Steve
    Dec 22, 2006
    10
    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 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. Collapse
  2. PnArdyPnArdy
    May 13, 2007
    10
    Great emotional drama with Will Smith about a father who loves and cares about his young son in spite of all the difficulties of the Great Great emotional drama with Will Smith about a father who loves and cares about his young son in spite of all the difficulties of the Great Depression in America. Should have got an Oscar. Expand
  3. Jondoe
    Mar 2, 2009
    10
    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 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
  4. JamieH.
    Feb 8, 2007
    8
    A very good movie. I'm not sure why all the negative comments, especially from some people who haven't even seen the movie!! Will A very good movie. I'm not sure why all the negative comments, especially from some people who haven't even seen the movie!! Will Smith does a very good job, and his son is a natural. By the end, I forgot I was watching Will Smith. He completely became his character. I think this movie will resonate with anyone that has had to make a hard decision in trying to make a better life for themselves or in chasing down a dream. It makes you really care about the main character and root for him to succeed. Expand
  5. SteveK.
    Mar 29, 2007
    6
    People's complaints about the movie's thorough and complete emphasis on Chris Gardner's struggle without showing the success People's complaints about the movie's thorough and complete emphasis on Chris Gardner's struggle without showing the success or happiness, should probably learn to read. This is not meant as an insult, but as an observation. The title of the movie is.... (Wait for it....) "The PURSUIT of Happyness" So what do you think the focus of the movie is going to be? Any guesses? The struggle is painful, but that's what makes it worthwhile when he gets there. Or at least it should. I still would have liked to have seen a little more of the "happiness." Give us a glimpse of what his life looks like now. You don't have to flaunt the bling-bling or show Chris driving expensive cars and in disgustingly extravangant houses, but show us a little of the comfort and peace of mind he worked so hard to get. Lots of pursuit but little happiness. When you work so hard to get the audience some place, there should be a pay-off (in this case: happiness), but when there isn't... or too little of it, the audience feels cheated. The struggle is genuinely heart-wrenching particularly because Will Smith and Jaden Smith are so good, and most people can relate to a guy who pursues a good life for his family and meets hardship along the way. But in the end it's more than a little emotionally manipulative, and the pay-off in the end falls a little short of the goal. Could have been a real inspiring and satisfying tale, but what we get instead is just a nice try. Expand
  6. BillyS.
    Jan 2, 2007
    3
    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 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
  7. Aaron
    Dec 15, 2006
    0
    predictable story about how much garbage you can eat without complaining. The ending was sadly lacking and there were no character developmentpredictable 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

See all 90 User Reviews

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