Accentuating these drawbacks in the film is its final message. To illustrate, Chris Gardner may have gone on to become a millionaire as a result of his industry, but, what is the glory in such an outcome? After all, American is already home to many millionaires. The real problem is not so much that the country lacks millionaires as that there is a gaping disparity between the haves and the have-nots. In the film’s climax scene, Chris Gardner is shown to outperform the rest of his trainee group, to claim the lone lucrative vacancy on offer. So what about the fate of the other nineteen trainees who failed to make the cut? Are they relegated to homelessness by this one-in-twenty-is-a-millionaire society that we live in? In other words, Chris Gardner’s outstanding financial success is precisely the problem, not the solution. Reducing economic disparity in American society would have been a more reasonable message from the film-makers, but a lack of understanding of the real problem makes the film’s conclusion unappealing. All the movie does is to reiterate the Reagan Administration’s message of “you too can become a millionaire” if only they will pull themselves up and work hard. This suggests that those who are homeless and poor are not making earnest efforts, which is really adding insult to their already pathetic condition.
But, there are a few merits in the movie as well as noted reviewer Pam Grady writes:
“But as good as the elder Smith is, The Pursuit of Happyness belongs to little Jaden; he steals every scene right out from under the old man. Christopher is not that easy a role for a kid, since he spends so much of the movie either confused or downright unhappy, and Jaden comes through. Father and son are pretty great together; perhaps they can repeat the magic in a better movie” (Pam Grady, 2006).
Hence, in conclusion, The Pursuit of Happyness fails on several counts as a feature film as elucidated above, thereby proving the thesis that The Pursuit of Happyness is an average commercial film that fails to live up to its initial promise as a result of redundant themes and a predictable plot that leaves the viewer lingering with the question “What’s new?”
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), review by PAM GRADY, retrieved from on 28th September, 2008