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Mainstream - The Pursuit Of Happyness

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The Pursuit Of Happyness
Will Smith, Jaden Smith, Brian Howe
Directed by Gabriele Muccino
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2007
117 Minutes

The Pursuit Of Happyness is a movie DVD about the American dream but a rare instance of a movie being about the struggle for that dream where there are no easy solutions. This is a very intelligent, captivating, well-acted movie that manages to make its various points without ever hitting the viewer on the head, a rare feat these days. Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith are both solid and believable in their roles.

The Pursuit Of Happyness is based on the true story of stockbroker Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith of Fresh Prince fame) who struggled for months as an unemployed single dad living in shelters and metro toilet while doing an unpaid apprenticeship at stock broking firm Dean Witter. You might remember seeing this story on 60 Minutes or Dateline or another one of those shows. The movie, directed by Italian director Gabriele Muccino, takes quite a few liberties with the true story but none of them feel invented or artificially inserted.

There are a lot of subtle moments in this DVD. One of them is the racism Gardner is the butt of as an intern when his supervisor always seems to choose him to do fetch his stuff or move his car. Other moments I liked were how the difference between the have and have nots was pointed out without ever getting preachy. Will Smith's character does an incredible balancing act between being homeless and a successful looking, looking being the key word, man.

Some say The Pursuit of Happyness is a bit long at 117 minutes and I am usually very sensitive to this. With this DVD however I never really felt the movie was dragging or showing really unnecessary or self-indulgent scenes. This is a quiet, interesting, very good movie that is, in the end, a feel good story. You might think since this is based on a true story that it being a credible feel good story is an obvious comment but how many such movies have you seen where so many things seemed forced or contrived? This one really works.

Special features include a really cool short on the Rubik's Cube and people solving it blind and so on. There is also an interview with Chris Gardner,a thing on the Smith father and son team, and the usual director's commentary

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 9.7" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology