The Pursuit of Happyness—Sony Pictures

Video: 4
Audio: 4
Extras: 2

In 1981, a struggling, self-employed medical-supply salesman (Will Smith) must cope with unemployment, his wife leaving him, and caring for his young son, Christopher, (played by Smith’s real-life son Jaden) in this movie inspired by a true story. As Chris Gardner, Smith excels in bringing to life the soul of a man hanging on by a thread yet continuing to have faith in his talents and that he’ll be able to earn enough to get by.

Knowing that trying to hawk bone-density scanners to doctors is a limited income resource, Gardner applies to an unpaid internship at Dean Witter Reynolds and, for six months, must make the grade in both the office and, for a while, on the streets, in church shelters, and in a subway bathroom.

The 2.40:1 anamorphic picture captures some of the drab underbelly of San Francisco life, as well as its famous beauty, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound pops with clarity. Special features include a director’s commentary, featurettes on the real Chris Gardner, on Smith and his son, as well as on the Rubik’s Cube craze both past and present.

Even though you know it works out in the end, the film is both inspirational and emotional, and seeing the American dream actually come to fruition never gets old. Smith nails the desperation, love, and courage it takes to make it after all goes bad, and Italian director Gabriele Muccino gets that this story is all about the father-and-son relationship, which is handled and portrayed beautifully.