Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Happyness

Before one of you points on the obvious, yes, it's spelled wrong.

I finally got around to watching The
Pursuit of Happyness last night. I had heard many good things about the movie, incl. award nominations, but I never seemed to be in the mood for what appeared to be a pretty depressing movie.

POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT.


The movie is based on the true story of
Chris Gardner who is portrayed by Will Smith (I have to say that on reflection I really like Will Smith and his movies, he's a good actor, he seems to really embody the role he's playing, he's funny and he's just a likable guy, on and off the screen). The one word that keeps coming to mind is tension. Not necessarily the tension he showed on screen, but the tension I felt watching the story unfold. At one point, a consciously had to unclench my hands. It was truly an emotional movie and as good movie always do, it immersed me in the life of the main character, and the actor almost disappeared from view.

The movie doesn't clearly say why there is a 'y' in
happyness, but Chris explains his viewpoint in the this interview on The Hour:


That is, the "y" is "you" and happiness means different things to different people. In the movie, references are made to Thomas Jefferson and the
US Declaration of Independence and the mention of the pursuit of happiness in the preamble. The interpretation I loved was that happiness is not necessarily a state, but more of a pursuit. And what truer thought than today in the US and the millions of people with rejuvenated journeys towards happiness. I think I can relate to the fleeting thoughts, or the just-out-of-reach idea, of happiness. But as another guest of The Hour, Alanis Morissette recently discussed with Stroumbo (at 6:52), is that perhaps peace is a better personal goal than happiness.

Back to the movie. What Chris Gardner has done in his life is truly inspiring and a great lesson in determination, faith and perseverence. It also says wonders about the strength of some parents and gives a good plug for a good education too ! It's hard to believe he survived the challenges that were thrown his way and I'm sure there are thousands of other real life stories that have the opposite, tragic outcomes.


Looking at how little (possessions, money, companionship) he had at times in his life, it is a lesson for us all that we should embrace what we have and remind ourselves how lucky we are. But perhaps more importantly, I think it also says we should feel pride in how hard we've worked in our own lives and what we've managed to achieve (so far).


A beautiful story, well told and acted. A remarkable human being and hero. 9/10.

1 comment:

Richard said...

I have to agree totally with your Will Smith assessment, what a fine actor, I always believe in his characters and lose the actor completely.... not bad for the Prince of a cheesy TV show.

Such an inspiring story, add this to Les Miserable, and Rudy for those movies you need to watch when feeling unmotivated..... we are all so much more able then we ever realize.... I feel lazy just typing this!