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To Know There Is To Go There

The Pursuit Of Happyness

By: Sam Curtis

 (David Haines behind Will Smith in “Ali”)


Well it’s Christmas season, and we are flooded with films at the theater.  The main event appears to be Dream Girls, Dream Girls, Dream Girls!  Before this flick even hits the theaters, it has won some Golden Globe nominations.  Oscar is buzzing as well. 

Another film just released over the weekend with Golden Globe nominations and Oscar buzz is The Pursuit of Happyness.  It’s an autobiographical story about a guy named Chris Gardner who rises up from a homeless single father to become the owner of a multi millionaire brokerage firm.   Oh, and he does this with a High School education.  Oh, and he’s a person of color.

So, who is Chris Gardner?  Well, there’s a book of which the film is based.  I remember getting an email from Sybil’s book club recommending it.  Lately, I’ve been reading books about Reconstruction, Slavery, and the Civil Rights movement.  I could go out and buy the book, but I just don’t have the time to read it before seeing the film.   That’s just as well.  Except for the Color Purple, I’m always disappointed in the film if I read the book first.

So off to the theaters I go on a Saturday amidst the excited Christmas shoppers.   As I find myself in the manic shoppers’ traffic I’m hoping that the film is worth the stress.

Settling in my seat,  so far so good.  The traffic caused me to miss all those previews you are bombarded with before the start of the film. 

Will Smith stars in this heart felt tear jerker opposite his real life son Jaden Smith. 

As I start to watch the film, I can’t help but to think about a young man I had met in Los Angeles a few years ago.  So far his story paralleled the film.  This young man was raising his daughter as a single parent as he pursued an acting career.   His single mother raised the young man along with his younger siblings in the poverty stricken inner city of Philadelphia.   The only male role model and father figure was his barber.  This man had persuaded him to pursue a college education.  Lincoln University offered him a scholarship.  Enrolling late, he ended up having to sleep in the school’s infirmary.   The young man was disturbed by this event.  He felt guilty that he was sleeping in a warm environment, while his mother and siblings had to sleep in a cold apartment.  The mother was doing her best but sometimes even her best could not always provide heat, shelter and food at the same time.  The young man wanted to return home and help his mother, but with her insisting, he completed his college education.  Just as I was wondering what the young man was doing he appeared on the screen.   Yes, David Haines, who also works as Will Smith’s stand- in, had secured a small role in a film which parallels his own life. 

So, who is Chris Gardner?  Chris is David Haines and many others who persevered through some challenging times with a can do attitude to pursue their dreams.  If you have a dream but your present circumstances suggest the impossibility of attainment, just go into can do mode like Chris Gardner and David Haines.  Eventually you will realize your dream.

Young Jaden Smith delivers a fine performance, making it a must see film worth not only the Golden Globe nomination, and Oscar buzz, but also negotiating the manic Christmas shopping traffic.  





Posted in Entertainment 7 years, 10 months ago at 1:57 am.

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