May 2, 2007

In pursuit of happyness

"And it was at that time that I thought about Thomas Jefferson writing that Declaration of Independence. Him saying that we have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I thought about how he knew to put the 'pursuit' in there, like no one can actually have happiness. We can only pursue it."
The above lines do not seem to carry much meaning without a context. But when Will Smith said that in his portrayal of the real life character Christopher Gardner, it put so many things in life in perspective for me.
I just came back from a screening of the movie 'The Pursuit of Happyness' [sic] at my university, and it is weighing down so much on me that I coud not desist myself from writing about it. Not many movies have touched my soul and evoked my senses as this movie has. I have seen Will smith (whom I liked anyway) in movies like MIB, I-Robot which are a different genre of movies altogether and I was under the impression that he is a bit stereotyped. But when I saw this movie I was proven wrong. To say that this is one of the best performance I have ever seen in a movie is not an overstatement. I wonder if the performance of Forest Whitaker was so exceptional in the movie 'The Last King of Scotland', so as to have denied the Best Actor Award to Will Smith.

The movie depicts the life of Chris Gardner who is married and has a son. Chris is a salesman who has very poor success in his job of selling Bone density scanners to hospitals. His wife leaves him and Chris looks after his son. His travails as he struggles to make both ends meet and study at the same time while doing an internship as a stockbroker are quite absorbing. He fights everything bravely. He gets imprisoned, gets fined, is thrown out of the house by the landlord and everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong. He puts up a brave face and fights it out. But things go too much out of his hand and when one day he has to take refuge in a Railway station restroom for the night with his son, he eventually breaks down and cries but does so mutedly lest his sleeping son wakes up. Thats an amazing scene and is bound to touch the soul of anyone. Will Smith's performance is beyond words.If he grabbed our hearts in this scene, then he melts them in the final scene, with the way he reacts when he gets the job he wanted: a mix of happiness, disbelief, and relief that his years of struggle have finally come to an end.

When I walked out of the theater, I saw life in a different perspective. Things could have been different. Things could have been worse. We are lucky to have a comfortable shelter, food to eat everyday, and a sense of belonging. Yet we are discontent. Things we had taken for granted are out of reach for many people in the world. Not being rich is one thing. But not being in a position to even eat a morsel of food is something else. It made me realize things that I had been discontent with in my life are all non-issues. Purely materialistic. Being happy is just our perspective of life. We are never content with what we have and always yearn for something more which we feel we need in our lives. The movie had left a lot of posers to me. But it has clearly answered one: Whatever we have and do not have, we cannot have happyness. We can only pursue it.


Filarial May 3, 2007 at 6:47:00 PM EDT  

Forest whitakar as idi amin in the last king of scotland was amazing da..(if u watch the movie keep in mind that the story is a peice of fiction not true events but based of the situation in uganda!) and this year there have been much more powerful performances than will smiths.. I dont know if you saw letters from Iwo Jima.. but ken wantabe in that was just amazing and he wasnt even nominated.. nominating decaprio for the departed was ludicrous that movie was ok but not deserving of any accolades in my opinion..

Santhosh C May 4, 2007 at 9:43:00 AM EDT  

I agree that dicaprio getting nominated amongst these performances is ridiculous. I havent seen the other movies though, but my friends who have seen it said that those performances were good too, but like you said this performance is more endearing probably due to the emotional aspect attached to it.....

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