Parents' Guide to

The Pursuit of Happyness

By Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Inspirational but often emotionally wrenching story.

Movie PG-13 2006 117 minutes
The Pursuit of Happyness Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 16 parent reviews

age 12+

that kid'll getcha

This film does not analyze the larger systemic issues that facilitated the lack of wealth prevalent in 1981 San Francisco. The bootstraps American Dream trope is heavy-handed all over this film and it is unfortunate. For 10 people that work really hard and try to make it even in the face of homelessness how many are able to lift themselves out of poverty? It was great that Gardner made it, but what about all of the others? Smith's son got me when he was crying for his Captain America...that was real talk
1 person found this helpful.
age 12+

Real Life Issues - Refreshing break from anthromorphism and fantasy

Excellent acting by Will Smith and his son. So well done you could feel the despair trying to bring Chris Gardner (Will Smith) to giving up. Great example of sacrificial love for his son; realistic because he's not perfect when the stress gets intense (when he panics a couple of times he scares his boy but he doesn't allow his mistakes to keep him from loving his son and doing the best he can for him). Profanity as mentioned before by other reviewers (adds to the realistic feeling of the movie), a scene when his wife is shirtless and just wearing a bra. One instance of the son jumping on bed in underwear but brief and innocent. Outstanding acting by Will Smith. Great lesson on persevering under intense financial pressure, despair, and disappointment . Inspired this father in so many ways, not being lazy or indifferent to children, a better understanding of the plight of the homeless, looking for opportunities to help others struggling to get a leg up in their respective careers, being generous, and slow to judge just to name a few. I think it would be too intense for the youngest of viewers, but 12 and above could certainly learn a lot from this film. The only concern for me was the profanity.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (16 ):
Kids say (49 ):

Jaden Smith is adorable; he delivers an endearing performance as Gardner's son, Christopher, in what turns out to be a simple, sentimental, but ultimately inspiring movie. The film deals with the American Dream from a particular perspective, focusing, as the title implies, on the constitutional right to "pursue" happiness, rather than the right to be happy. In this manner, the movie is able to avoid focusing much on institutional racism and how that factors into achieving the Dream. Instead, the relationship between father and son, through all the ups and downs of family strife and economic instability, take center stage, with lovely results.

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