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


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


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 and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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