This is a feel good film that is about a man who goes through some bad times but always tries his hardest for his son. Its also a story about how bad things can happen to good people. The story is made all the more remarkable by the fact that it is based on a true story.
We meet Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) and his young son (played by Will Smiths own son Jaden). Chris is a salesman living and working in San Francisco who becomes homeless after some bad business investments and tries desperately to continue to work while trying to look after his young son. We see him struggle to get into homeless shelters and see the unfairness that women and children shelters exist but no provision for a child to stay with their father. In one moving scene we see him forced to take refuge in a toilet in a station in a bid to provide a shelter for the evening.
We see the struggles he faces, he is a bright young man and he gets a job in a stock brokers but the catch is that it is unpaid. We see him however work his hardest to try and earn some money.
And in-case you are wondering the miss-spelling of happiness as “Happyness” is deliberate, as one scene in the film explains when questioned about the mural on the wall the owner says that it doesn’t matter how they spell it, it only matters that the children have it.
Will Smith takes a break from his usual action hero films to play this character and he does so with great skill. What really makes this film though is the relationship between Smith and his son. The relationship between these two and the love they have is a key aspect to the film. Because they are father and son in real-life it gives this film an authenticity that might not have been there had another actor been used.
This is a lovely film about true life and the struggles people face, it is about the relationship between a father and his son, its about hard work and hope. The characters are engaging and believable and you feel drawn into the story. You empathize with Chris as he struggles to make ends meet and to try to hold down a job and raise his son at the same time. It’s a lovely story and well worth a watch.