The movie "The Pursuit of Happyness" is a 2006 American biographical drama movie directed by Gabriele Muccino and starring Will Smith as Chris Gardner, a homeless salesman.
The struggle of a common man, pursuing happiness, is accurately depicted in the movie. It shows how happiness is the end piece of the puzzle of life. It is something you struggle or work hard to get. It is something you value deeply because there was a time you needed it the most and you did not have it.
We say at times that "happiness is not about the end-goal or destination, it's about the journey". But what if the journey is painful? What if the journey hurts? What if it's completely messed up and entangled, like a Rubik's cube and we are the one's trying to put all the pieces back together.
In a scene where Will Smith (as Chris Gardener in the movie) tries to solve the Rubik's cube puzzle and does not give up until the end, symbolises the value of making efforts. We might not get everything right the first time, actually no one does. We need to try and try until we get it right.
"I’m the type of person that if you ask me a question and I don’t know the answer, I’m gonna tell you that I don’t know. But I bet you what, I know how to find the answer and I will find the answer.”
- Will Smith (Pursuit of Happyness)
The journey might not be good. It might not even be what you have expected it to be. There is this beautiful line where Chris talks about the dreams that he had in his childhood and how none of it came true.
"When I was young and I'd get an 'A' on a history test... or whatever... I'd get this good feeling about all the things that I could be. And then I never became any of them."
- Chris Gardener (Pursuit of Happyness)
The journey might not give you happiness (initially). But it does bring about growth. It is something you realise after you have been through the ride. It is after you have survived the storm that you realise that you have learnt how to survive storms. The process is not fun, but it brings a lot of beautiful transformation that is needed in your future life.
The movie also teaches the importance of hope. Even when things were not going well, Chris Gardener did not lose hope. He was working hard and being optimistic that tomorrow will be a better day.
"I was homeless, but I wasn't hopeless. I knew a better day was coming."
- Chris Gardner
The movie also depicts how powerful the concept of "hope" is. It can pull us through the bad days and keep us humble. Even when things were not working out for Chirs Gardener and even when he was struggling he was still humble and kind to others. He was still helping others when he did not have many things himself. There is a scene where Chris gives 5$ to someone from his company when he needed that money when Chris himself did not have much money in his wallet to give.
The movie also talks about the beautiful relationship between Chris Gardener and his son. The way he is protecting his son from all the misfortunes that befall them. The only time Chris smiles in the movie is while talking to others (no matter how distressed he is) and while talking to his son. They play games together and he tries to keep him happy with everything he has got. It shows how having good relationships with our loved ones are able to pull us out of our sadness pothole and make us smile again.
Whenever anyone asks Chris in the movie "how are you doing?" He always replies with "good". Even if he is clearly not doing okay. It shows his struggle to maintain a positive attitude and hopeful spirit no matter how difficult things get.
There is also a scene in the movie where they go to the church and the song is playing there -
Lord don’t move that mountain
Give me the strength to climb it
Please don’t move that stumbling block
But lead me Lord around it
The way may not be easy
You didn't say that it would be
But when my tribulations get too light
We turn to stay away from thee
It highlights the aspect of spirituality and faith in the Divine or any higher power that we believe in. Many people turn towards spirituality when things get out of their control. When they feel helpless, scared, uncertain they turn to spirituality. It gives them a sense of hope and comfort that nothing else can.
The movie highlights all the aspects necessary for creating happiness. A quote from Ed Diener sums it up -
Probably the biggest insight … is that happiness is not just a place, but also a process. … Happiness is an ongoing process of fresh challenges, and… it takes the right attitudes and activities to continue to be happy.
— Ed Diener