My son and I watched The Pursuit of Happyness at home yesterday evening. The film is based on a true story about Chris Gardner, a black man in San Francisco who went from bad times, including a period of homelessness, to being a stockbroker and millionaire. As films are likely to do, the storyline strayed from the absolute truth a few times, but the message nevertheless came through loud and clear: Work hard, apply yourself, and you too can be successful.
Zach and I found the story to be interesting. Will Smith's understated portrayal of Gardner's character was quite good. My son also found the film to be depressing. He went to bed some twenty minutes before the ending, so he didn't get to see Gardner's efforts pay off, so yes, up to that point the storyline was indeed depressing. I'm glad, though, that my son agreed to watch the film with me.
The film represents to me two points of note: One, the intentional message of the film, is that application, perseverance, and hard work pay off. The other, more subtle but always valid in my experience, is that whatever your status in life, people will respond to you kindly if you follow some very simple rules: Keep yourself clean (even if you have to use a subway washroom,) reasonably groomed and attired, and speak and write properly.
I don't always have to see movies with happy endings and uplifting story lines, but since such films are fairly rare these days, it was a treat to see. It was nice to take a break from the 'film noir' genre for one evening and see something positive.