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Monday, September 17, 2007

When Did Will Smith Learn to Act?

My kids and I just saw Pursuit of Happyness (yes, that's how it's spelled)the day before yesterday, and now Joel is halfway through it, with me rewatching it. I have to say I think it's one of the finest pieces of drama I've seen. Spoiler alert: I'm not going to tell you how it ends or anything, but there are some themes in it that I can't ignore.

Some of the themes that are very touchingly and honestly portrayed are single parenthood, work ethic, and homelessness. Having been a single parent, and having been homeless, I was truly impressed by how well both are expressed. Being married to a man with a very strong work ethic, I appreciated how positively the movie presented this never-say-die attitude.

Another thing that I thought the movie got across extremely well is the importance of mutual support in a marriage. When spouses stop acting like they are on the same time team, they can only survive if external forces cooperate, filling in the gaps in the couple's relationship. If external forces do not cooperate, there is no strength to draw upon. Where is a husband's strength but in his wife, and where is a wife's strength but in her husband?

The language is pretty clean, the morals are consistently good. There is one scene where the main character does something wrong and apologizes the whole time, because he has no alternative, but that's about as immoral as it gets. It is a heavy movie, though, and I'd exercise caution about showing it to anyone under, say, 10 or 11. And by the way, if you look at the credits you'll find that the boy who plays Will Smith's son in the movie is his son in real life; and boy, can this kid act! So, for that matter, can his dad. I never would have expected such depth from the Fresh Prince. I highly recommend the movie.