While this is ultimately inspiring, it's pretty painful to watch, because it's really about Chris Gardner's struggle, not about his triumph. It made me feel like I don't work nearly hard enough for what I have. Which is certainly true, but I try not to dwell on it. Except that I try to be grateful.
Some of the amazing scenes in the film--like when Chris has to spend the night in jail for parking tickets and shows up at his interview for an internship at Dean Witter wearing the painting clothes he had on when he was arrested--aren't even as amazing as what happened to the real Chris Gardner. He was arrested for parking tickets and spent 10 days in jail, came home to find girlfriend, son and all of his clothes gone, and had to show up at his interview in the same clothes he'd been wearing when he got arrested. He told the truth and got the job.
In every article I read about the real Chris Gardner, there was the same basic information, but the details and stories differed. I think that's because he's one of those driven, intelligent, amazing people who create their own lives and end up with lots of stories to tell. All of the articles are worth reading:
- From sleeping on the streets to Wall Street
- Christ Gardner has pursued happiness, from the Glide soup kitchen to the big screen
- From Homeless to Hollywood
- 'Happyness' for sale
- 'Jesus loves me. He only likes you'
The movie is well-done, not sappy or overly emotional. Will Smith leaves his ego behind and does a great job as Gardner, and his son, Jaden, is great as Gardner's son, too. It's definitely worth seeing. Might also be worth reading his autobiography, on which the movie is based, also called The Pursuit of Happyness.