Movie Review: ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ finds the winning formula

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Depressingly realistic real-life story about the struggle to achieve success. Will Smith gives one of his best performances as a struggling salesman, down on his luck, endlessly trying to create a better life for himself and his son.

Off-putting at first, almost unbearably downbeat, the film and Smith´s character eventually win you over with their dogged persistence.

The ending, however, is far too abrupt; film seems to want to convey total success with a single accomplishment, but has to revert to on-screen text to actually finish the story.

Italian director Gabriele Muccino´s first English-language film is exceptionally well made all around and stays true to form throughout; at times, however, it tugs at the heartstrings too hard – though it never feels overtly manipulative.

Smith is in top form; his real-life son Jaden portrays his on-screen son here, and is mostly acceptable as the unfortunate child caught up in difficult circumstances.

The Pursuit of Happyness

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

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