Based on true events from 1981, Chris Gardner is a struggling seller of bone density machines. His wife Linda (Thandie Newton) works double shifts and their son, Christopher (Jaden Smith, Will’s son in real life) stays at a poorly run day care. While the word “Happiness” is misspelled on the school’s front door, the obscenity words are not. Chris begins questioning his current situation.
After questioning a successful man working for Dean Witter, Chris applies for the intern position without pay. As Chris struggles to learn his new trade, the marriage dissolves. Chris gets custody of his son, but ends up homeless. While Gardner and son struggle to survive, the father guides his son to use his mind over matter.
It has been many years in Hollywood since the world of business has been shown in a positive light and as a chance for redemption. “The Pursuit of Happyness” displays the struggles of a man who has received nothing, but perseveres through his own fortitude and gumption, worthy of an old Horatio Alger novel. To Director Gabriele Muccino’s credit, a news clip of President Ronald Reagan is presented. The great communicator acknowledges the economic malaise, but also states that the spirit of the American people will preserve. Given the multi million dollar financial success of Chris Gardner today, one would best advised to pursue this “Happyness” and remember what perseverance is all about.