Will Smith plays Chris Gardner, a man at a turning point in his life. As he struggles with his family while trying to sell medical equipment, Smith has to make decisions about the path he is to follow.
I watched this movie with a little trepidation. It has received many great reviews, but a single personal view caused me to watch it just a little more critically. Gardner was criticized for not, “doing everything he had to do for his son”. This was the viewpoint of an idealistic twenty-something. Age has a way of changing your perspective. During the Great Depression, some people would not do work that was beneath them, while others would do anything and everything to put food on the table. The young view of this movie is that Smith’s character should have gotten whatever job that he could – no matter what the pay.
Realistically, Smith works to sell his medical equipment while caring for his son and studying to become a stock broker. It is at once heart breaking and inspiring. He is broke, his medical equipment gets stolen, and he gets evicted. Through it all he manages to maintain a positive attitude – at least outwardly. The truly memorable scenes include Smith holding his son to his chest as he tries to keep the door of the men’s room he is sleeping closed with his foot. Smith silently cries as the cold feel of the tiled bathroom floor must be just like rock bottom. When he tells his son that he can’t do something he realizes his mistake and emphatically tells him to never let someone tell him he can’t do something; to never let anyone make him give up his dreams.
Despite my original misgivings, I found this to be an inspiring movie that shows what determination can accomplish.