The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 drama film starring Will Smith and his son Jaden. It is based on the true story of Christopher Gardner, a family man struggling to make ends meet.
Despite his valiant attempts to help keep the family afloat, the mother (Thandie Newton) of his five-year-old son Christopher (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) is buckling under the constant strain of financial pressure. No longer able to cope, she reluctantly decides to leave.
Chris, now a single father, continues to doggedly pursue a better-paying job using every sales skill he knows. He lands an internship at a prestigious stock brokerage firm, and although there is no salary, he accepts, hopeful he will end the program with a job and a promising future. Without a financial cushion, Chris and his son are soon evicted from their apartment and forced to sleep in shelters, bus stations, bathrooms or wherever they can find refuge for the night. Chris finds the Food Program at Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood and is befriended by the Reverend Cecil Williams who is impressed by the love that Chris shows for his son.
Despite his troubles, Chris continues to honor his commitment as a loving and caring father, using the affection and trust his son has placed in him as an impetus to overcome the obstacles he faces.
Thandie Newton and Dan Castellaneta also star in the film as Linda and Alan Frakesh respectively. Smith insisted that Italian Gabriele Muccino direct this movie because of Muccino’s style in movies such as L’ultimo bacio and Ricordati di me.
The film uses real “street people” in the film and real Glide church members and attendees are extras in some of the scenes featuring the church. The church choir and band, The Glide Ensemble and the John Turk Change Band, may also be in the film. The Glide Ensemble soloists and band are professional performers (in theaters 12/15/2006).
Click here to watch the movie trailer
“Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something…You got a dream, you gotta protect it…if you want something, go get it. Period.”
- Chris Gardner
Adapted from the Book The Pursuit of Happyness
The astounding yet true rags-to-riches saga of a homeless father who raised and cared for his son on the mean streets of San Francisco and went on to become a crown prince of Wall Street
At the age of twenty, Milwaukee native Chris Gardner, just out of the Navy, arrived in San Francisco to pursue a promising career in medicine. Considered a prodigy in scientific research, he surprised everyone and himself by setting his sights on the competitive world of high finance. Yet no sooner had he landed an entry-level position at a prestigious firm than Gardner found himself caught in a web of incredibly challenging circumstances that left him as part of the city’s working homeless and with a toddler son. Motivated by the promise he made to himself as a fatherless child to never abandon his own children, the two spent almost a year moving among shelters, “HO-tels,” soup lines, and even sleeping in the public restroom of a subway station.
Never giving in to despair, Gardner made an astonishing transformation from being part of the city’s invisible poor to being a powerful player in its financial district.
More than a memoir of Gardner’s financial success, this is the story of a man who breaks his own family’s cycle of men abandoning their children. Mythic, triumphant, and unstintingly honest, The Pursuit of Happyness conjures heroes like Horatio Alger and Antwone Fisher, and appeals to the very essence of the American Dream.
Adapted from the book: The Pursuit of Happyness
It will look like this: From Being Homeless to Becoming Crown Prince of Wall Street